Seal suffered 'horrific' injuries from plastic bin bag

Gnocchi the seal was rescued from Walton-on-the-Naze

Gnocchi suffered 'horrific' injuries from a plastic bin bag - Credit: RSPCA

A seal who suffered "horrific injuries" from a discarded plastic bin bag will need months of care, the RSPCA has said. 

Gnocchi, one of last year’s grey pups, was rescued from Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex last month by rescuers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR).

Gnocchi was then rushed to the RSPCA’s wildlife centre in Norfolk with a serious neck wound. 

After giving him pain relief, vets were shocked to find the restriction around Gnocchi's neck was a black plastic bag, similar to those used as bin liners. 

A black bin bag got caught around a seal's neck

The bin bag which was caught around the seal's neck - Credit: RSPCA

Alison Charles, centre manager said: “My heart actually sank when I realised this poor seal was suffering as a result of someone’s discarded litter.


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“You really think you’ve seen it all and then along comes something new - which inflicts horrific injuries and causes so much damage.

“It seems such an innocuous object - but this small plastic bag has caused untold pain and injury for poor Gnocchi and it makes me so cross because it could have easily been avoided if people disposed of their litter properly.

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"We have to do more to stop rubbish ending up in our waters and causing such damage to our precious wildlife."

Gnocchi the seal was injured by a black bin bag

Gnocchi suffered terrible injuries from the bin bag - Credit: RSPCA

She added that injuries such as these are becoming more common in seals. 

“Gnocchi is going to need weeks, if not months of care, his injury is very deep and infected," Ms Charles said. 

"We’ve removed all of the bag from his neck and he’s currently being given pain relief and antibiotics as well as regular salt baths.

“The trouble with these types of injuries is that the seals get something caught around their neck - but they can’t get them off by themselves and so become trapped in them. 

“And as they grow bigger the object then cuts deeper and deeper into their neck - causing these horrendous ‘necklace’ injuries which are sadly becoming more and more common in seals.”

The RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre has launched a fundraiser to help pay for fish to feed the sick, orphaned and injured seals in its care. 

To help support the wildlife centre and provide fish and salt for seals in need, click here

Anyone with concerns about an animal can call the RSPCA's emergency line on 0300 1234 999. Do not attempt to capture or handle an injured seal. 


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