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Fears for Cowes seal

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 14:48

A SEAL that has been visiting Cowes is unwell and an operation is under way to rescue the creature.
Medics from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) have been at the scene monitoring the seal this morning, who was on the steps by the Royal Yacht Squadron.
According to the experts, it is a different seal to the one spotted there last month, who proved a hit with Islanders.
Stephan Voigt, Isle of Wight coordinator for BDMLR, said: "We have been very surprised to see two different seals in the same place.
"The first seal looked very healthy, but medics have noticed signs of infection in this second grey seal.
"He may not survive without medical assistance as the infection will affect his ability to hunt. And from there it is a downward spiral.
"However, seals are not easy to handle. They are very strong and need to be restrained.
"The team is waiting for an opportunity to restrain the seal and bring it in when it is safe to do so for the medics and for the seal."
Should the seal be taken in, it will be transported off the Island, probably to Eastbourne, which is the nearest facility with the capability to care for seals.
Sightings of seals on the Island have increased in recent years.
Mr Voigt added: "When I came to the Island in 2002, it was very rare to see a seal, but now we see reports of sightings almost every week."
People are reminded to observe seals from a distance and not to touch, feed or get too close to the animals.
"Although they may look cuddly, they are predators with incredible sets of teeth and even a little scratch can lead to a nasty infection," Mr Voigt said.

Cowes Seal Foster

The seal at Cowes.


Reporter: jamesw@iwcpmail.co.uk

 


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