Urgent appeal in Outer Hebrides to find wounded seal with plastic stuck around her neck

An urgent appeal has been made to find a wounded seal in the Outer Hebrides who was last seen with a piece of plastic stuck around her neck.

The seal, pictured here with a deep wound on its neck caused by a piece of plastic, was last seen on June 28 with an urgent search underway to find her. PIC: Donna Hopton/Gairloch Marine Wildlife Centre & Cruises.

An urgent appeal has been made to find a wounded seal in the Outer Hebrides who was last seen with a piece of plastic stuck around her neck.

British Drivers Marine Life Rescue has raised the alarm about the Female Adult Grey Seal who was last seen last Friday at the Shiant Isles, just off the Isle of Harris.

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Tourists, residents and fishermen have been asked to look out for the seal anid growing concern for her welfare. It is believed she may also be pregnant.

Tourists are being urged to look out for the seal by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue. PIC: Donna Hopton/Gairloch Marine Wildlife Centre & Cruises.

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She has rope and some plastic filament around her neck and is suffering from a "deep strangulating laceration wound," a statement from the organisation said.

"Unfortunately she will die if not found and is already underweight," it added.

The statement said: "We are appealing for sea tours, holidaymakers, locals and fisherman out in these areas to notify us in the event they come across her.

The seal is expected to come to shore at several possible locations. They are The Shiant Isles, Bays of Harris, Scalpay, Taransay or the Northon, Toe Head, Selibost, Luskentyre, Nisabost, Horgabost beaches on Harris.

Sara Wood-Kwasniewska, area co-ordinator for BDMLR, said she needed a RIB boat to get close to the seal, which is believed to still be in the area of the Shiant Isles.

"She is across the Minch and it is difficult to access her safely. We hope we can find someone with a RIB boat so we can get close to the rocks and perhaps somehow get her into the boat. It is going to be very difficult but we are trying as hard as we can to find a way.

"My concern is that she is pregnant, and she is likely to be pregnant. We could end up losing two. We need to find her."

She added: "Unfortunately, plastics do have a huge impact on our marine wildlife. I spend a lot of time on the coastline and there is so much plastic washed up along with marine waste from the fishing industry."

Clean Coast Outer Hebrides, which was set up last year by Lewis woman Janet Marshall , has collected 24 tonnes of plastic and marine waste from shorelines around the islands so far.

Any sightings should be reported to BDMLR head office on 01825 765546 or text or call the local co-ordinator on 07531 910952.

Members of public have been urged not to try and catch the seal themselves.

"They are powerful mammals and can be dangerous our medics are trained and have the necessary equipment," the organisation said.

(Photo Credit: Donna Hopton/Gairloch Marine Wildlife Centre & Cruises)