Warning to dog walkers to keep distance from 'feisty' seals
- Credit: BDMLR
A marine animals' charity has warned dog walkers not to approach seals on the shore after two were discovered on the Suffolk coast in the last week.
Jo Collins, Norfolk and Suffolk coordinator for British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), said a seal was reported at Bawdsey last Thursday before another on Felixstowe beach on Sunday.
Mrs Collins took in the Felixstowe seal as it appeared dehydrated, but was shocked to discover blood pouring from its mouth and nose.
The seal had also suffered scrape and puncture wounds while out at sea.
Both animals have now been taken into care at the RSPCA's East Winch wildlife centre near King's Lynn in Norfolk, where they are recovering.
The discoveries come after the BDMLR rescued a seal with "horrific injuries" caused by a plastic bin bag from Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex last month.
Another seal was found with a plastic ring around its neck on Felixstowe beach only a few weeks prior.
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Mrs Collins believes reports of seal sightings are on the rise. Some older seals can travel to British shores from as far away as mainland Europe.
She said: "They have definitely become more common.
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"The one from Bawdsey is getting on OK, but the Felixstowe one was a bit feisty."
Mrs Collins also provided advice to coastal walkers about what to do if they find a seal on land, with BDMLR volunteers available to provide assistance around the clock.
She added: "At this time of year, we ask the public to send us pictures first to see how the seals are getting on.
"The strong, feisty seals would stand up to any dog that comes up to them.
"Please keep your distance and do not let your dog go near. Seals can carry some nasty diseases.
"Give us a call and we can decide if they need assistance. They don't all need rescuing.
"You can look at them from a distance - we'll try and get a medic out if needed."