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

• Keep other people, children and dogs away

• Phone for help (call us on 087 195 5393 day and night)

• Take a photograph and send it to us to assess

• DO NOT attempt to untangle and release the animal


It is so important to keep your distance to not frighten the already exhausted animal back into the water as this will simply prolong its time in distress and can cause it to drown as the debris might limit its 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 an 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 often the tissue has begun to die, 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, and spend time in rehabilitation to be put on a course of antibiotics to treat the wounds and ensure there is no 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.