WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES WITHIN ARTICLE
HEARTBREAKING images show a seal that was found washed up on a beach dead after being decapitated by a discarded ring frisbee.
Local Kate Wing was shocked after stumbling across the mammal on Pakefield Beach in Lowestoft, Suffolk on Thursday afternoon.
The 39-year-old was out for a stroll when she spotted the animal from afar and initially thought it may still be alive.
However, after getting closer, Kate quickly realised the animal was dead and found a beige frisbee stuck around its neck.
Images show the tragic animal lying on the sand, with almost all of its body intact, apart from the horrific injuries to its neck.
The seal’s neck appears to have been worn away by the friction of the ring.
It is thought to have starved to death after continuing to grow with the plastic ring around its neck.
Kate shared the images on social media later on that day to urge people not to discard items on the beach or nearby.
She said: “I’m really sorry if this post upsets or distresses anyone, however on my very windy and cold walk in Pakefield this seal was washed up.
“It had died because of a frisbee. As I was trying to contact a local wildlife rescue, a marine medic was walking his dog.
“He has logged it and will inform the council. As it was a sub-adult I asked him how the frisbee got onto the seal.
“Seal pups play with them, it then gets onto their neck and as they grow it gets tighter and tighter until eventually they starve to death.
“Please, please do not buy frisbees with holes. Let’s save our marine wildlife.”
Social media users were shocked by the images.
Bek Berneray said: “Thanks for posting this to highlight in no uncertain terms, the dire and catastrophic impact these specific items can and do have on seals along our coast lines.”
Rachel H Reardon said: “Omg how awful, that poor seal. I hate those things, they shouldn’t be anywhere near wildlife.”
Rob Batten said: “Horrible to see.”
Summer Porter said: “Just been writing up about this campaign in my dissertation about seal entanglement. I hate ring frisbees.”
And Laurey Ayers added: “Oh that’s so sad, all because of humans.”
Speaking today, Kate said: “I was walking along and noticed an object on the beach. I wandered towards it and realised it was a seal.
“I had previously wandered past that same area and it wasn’t there earlier, so it must have washed up within that time.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen a dead one like that. Whilst I was on the beach, I tried to contact a local wildlife rescue to see what to do.
“But, I noticed a man walking his dog just nearby, and by chance he happened to be a marine medic.
“He logged the seal with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity, and was going to report it to our local council.
“One charity wanted to recover the body to conduct a postmortem, but it’s since been washed back out to sea.
“The images are not very nice at all, but they’ve had the reaction I hoped they would have.”
Friends of Horsey Seals said: “This is why [flying plastic rings] should be removed from coastal shops.
“Our Friends of Horsey Seals rescue team have rescued a number of badly injured seals with flying rings stuck around their necks.
“We wonder how many die at sea that we don’t know about.”