Seal avoids "slow and painful death" by Air Vent Filter

Wild seal "Relashio" was so severely injured caused by part of a discarded air filter lodged around his neck that he took to swimming on his back to deal with the pain.

Receiving care and rehabilitation at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, he is being encouraged to swim upright again. The seal needs to convalescence and learn how to swim naturally before being released for a better chance at survival in the wild.
Relashio on beach
waste air vent The danger posed to marine animals by discarded waste plastic has been gruesomely illustrated by a rescued juvenile Grey seal displaying some unusual behaviour.

Spotted off the coast of Burnham Overy Staithe by local teachers, Sarah Jones and Tracey Johnston while out on a coastal walk, the seal was noticeably injured by a waste air vent that had become dangerously trapped around his neck. Authorities were alerted and he was rapidly rescued by a British Divers Marine Life Rescue volunteer and staff from Sea Life Hunstanton.
Christopher Tansley, veterinary surgeon at Coastal Veterinary Group commented "Relashio was immediately brought to us to examine him and then remove the object around his neck.

The circular plastic piece of air filter had obviously been around the poor animal´s neck for some time as it had cut deep into the fat as he grew in size. We have seen similar injuries in cats before, but we have never seen anything as severe as this in a seal."
Relashio Relashio, as he has affectionately been named by the team rehabilitating him, has since been recovering at Sea Life Hunstanton closely monitored by Sea Life aquarist Nicky Nelson, it was there that he was observed swimming and sleeping on his back.

"We monitored Relashio very closely and soon noticed he had a habit of swimming and resting on his back. We believe he may have grown to get used to this position as it would have helped to ease the pressure on his wound." Said Nicky.
"If he hadn´t been discovered then he would have almost certainly perished a slow and painful death as he continued to grow in size, the wound would have continued to deepen until it stopped him from eating or breathing.

It is just so heart breaking to see a wild animal suffer through this and hope people can get more involved in reducing plastic in the environment."
Relashio Relashio has been recuperating for eight weeks and receiving treatment at the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, slowly learning to swim upright as he mimics behaviour of other seals in the sanctuary´s convalescent pool and is expected to make a full recovery.
It is hoped Relashio is to be released back into his natural habitat within the next four weeks and the teachers that first discovered him are keen to be involved.

Sarah Jones, Year 2 teacher at Hunstanton Primary School and Tracey Johnston, Year 5 teacher at Fakenham Junior school, who discovered Relashio said "We were both horrified to find this poor injured seal with what looked like a plastic ring around its neck. It was so tight it was cutting deeply into him and must have been incredibly uncomfortable to endure."
Relashio "We´re delighted he´s making a full recovery and our students are really keen to be a part of his release into the wild."

Animals becoming caught in nets and other foreign items is known as entanglement, a global issue affecting hundreds of marine species and posing a real threat to animal populations.
Staff at the sanctuary advise members of the public to report all sightings of injured or entangled seals to your local rescue centre and to attempt the SEA LIFE Trust laccy Band Challenge which helps to educate people about the issues of entanglement on marine wildlife.

Press Release issued by the Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary
For more details please contact: Adam Makinson on 01485 533576
Date: 2nd May 2018

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