Sick seal spotted in Shoreham rescued after condition worsens

Floss' being rescued yesterday afternoon (June 19) 'Picture: Pete Foggon
Floss' being rescued yesterday afternoon (June 19) 'Picture: Pete Foggon

A sick common seal that has been visiting Shoreham beach has been rescued.

The seal, which has been named Floss, was first spotted along the Sussex coast by an 11-year-old Shoreham girl.

Floss had been visiting Shoreham beach. Picture: British Divers Marine Life Rescue

Floss had been visiting Shoreham beach. Picture: British Divers Marine Life Rescue

It was captured sunning itself on a wooden jetty by the River Adur after its adventures earlier that day when it caught a ride with a Southwick rower.

But it soon became apparent that the young seal was in fact injured and ‘appeared to have some fishing line in its mouth’.

After closer consultations with rehabilitation facilities, it was discovered that the line was in fact a parasite and the seal was most likely suffering from lungworm, British Divers Marine Life Rescue said.

Floss was safely rescued yesterday afternoon (June 19), and was transferred to the care of the RSPCA in Mallydams Wood, Hastings, for treatment.

Picture: British Divers Marine Life Rescue

Picture: British Divers Marine Life Rescue

Roxanne Brown volunteers at the RSPCA centre and has been monitoring Floss, with others, since it was first spotted in February.

She said: “Floss was rescued last year in Norfolk and released there in January 2018. She made her way over here and sightings started in February this year.

“Floss is still sick but we are now helping her recover. It was first thought that she was on the mend and looked much healthier so we made no plans to catch her.

“But unfortunately her condition deteriorated – which led to the rescue.”

Picture: British Divers Marine Life Rescue

Picture: British Divers Marine Life Rescue

A spokesman for British Divers Marine Life Rescue said today: “On April 12, we received multiple reports of a common seal in Shoreham-by-Sea which appeared to have some fishing line in its mouth.

“The seal reappeared on April 18, looking much healthier so no immediate plans were made to catch it, but on Friday, June 14, we received some new photos of the seal which showed that it was losing weight and coughing a lot more than it had been previously.

“BDMLR volunteers were called out to help, hoping that the seal would now be in a position to enable us to catch it, however it continued to haul out on the slipway close to the sea making it unsafe for medics and the animal.

“The seal was monitored for a further five days until finally she was caught yesterday afternoon, and transferred to the care of RSPCA – Mallydams Wood for treatment.”

Floss has undergone a full veterinary assessment, the spokesman said, and is now being treated for the lungworm.

It will then need to put back on some of the weight it has lost due to the parasitic infection – before being released.

The spokesman added: “We would like to thank everyone who has helped in this ongoing rescue. Coastway Vets – Shoreham for its regular updates keeping the public informed, the residents of Shoreham-by-Sea who have monitored the safety of the seal while on the beach, Shoreham Port for helping us with sightings, and to all BDMLR medics who have spent many hours waiting and watching, and finally catching the animal.”

Coastway Vets in Shoreham said Floss’ body condition had deteriorated and her respiratory rate and effort had both increased.

A spokesman added: “On close up examination she had certainly lost weight and appeared to be passing a little blood from her rear end.

“That being said, she’s a wild animal, and certainly made the medics work for their result, but aside from a few little scratches to her flipper she was captured swiftly and safely!

“She has been transported immediately to the experts who were ready to receive her and assess her. All fingers and toes crossed for a speedy recovery!”