Seal Entanglement and What to do...
Sadly many seals become badly tangled in discarded fishing net which digs deep into flesh and through blubber over time. Unable to forage properly, in obvious pain, and becoming weak - most will come ashore to die.
This is unfortunately the case for many seals, and other marine animals such as sea birds, turtles, whales and dolphins, who accidentally get tangled in nets, lines and other rubbish that ends up in the sea.
Here is what to do if you come across a seal (or any animal) tangled and in distress:
• Observe from a distance
• DO NOT attempt to untangle Or release the animal!
• Keep other people and dogs away
• Phone for help - call us 24/7 on 087 195 5393
• Take a photograph and send it to us to assess
It is so important to keep your distance and not to frighten the animal back into the water. Frightening the animal back into the water will simply prolong their time in distress and can cause them to drown as the debris might limit their movements.
Most importantly, though you may think the right thing to do is cut the animal free and allow it to return back into the water this is actually very dangerous, and can lead to the animal dying of shock.
In most cases the net has been attached for some time and has dug deep into the skin where there is likely to be infection, and there is a very high risk of stroke due to blood clots if tight lines/ropes are removed.
Any tangled animal MUST be seen by a vet to remove the tangled debris under sedation, stitch up any wounds and keep them clean.
They should also spend time in rehabilitation to be put on a course of antibiotics to treat the wounds and ensure there is no further infection. The time in rehabilitation also allows the animal time to rest and recuperate in a safe environment and gain weight and strength before being returned to the wild as soon as possible.
Thankfully in most entanglement cases the seal will make a good recovery and will be released back to the wild.