A seal that had been on Ramsgate main sands since Monday was put to sleep by vets today (February 26),
On Monday the Marine Mammal Medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue group were called to the beach to check on a large seal which was resting above the high tide line.
Volunteers arrived to find an adult female grey seal, approximately 1.8m, in relatively poor nutritional state.
Grey seals at this time of year often carry less weight than during the summer months, especially females after the breeding season and when they are coming into moult, shedding their winter fur at the start of the spring.
The seal was unresponsive unless approached, when it would give a sudden burst of movement, but then return to an unresponsive state. Volunteers remained with the animal throughout the day, only leaving when the beach was empty and it was starting to get dark.
On Tuesday morning, the seal was still there so again the BDMLR volunteers took turns keeping watch over her through the course of the day, keeping her safe from the public and observing any change in appearance or behaviour.
While monitoring the seal they sought advice from other organisations, such as the RSPCA, and looked at the possibility of relocating her to a quieter area. By the end of the day the seal had only moved a slight distance towards the sea but had stopped short of the high tide line and remained there all night.
A BDMLR spokesman said: “Today at 7am, one of our volunteers checked the beach and found the seal in exactly the same location as the night before. The decision was made to get a veterinarian to the beach to carry out a full assessment. When the vet arrived they confirmed the seal was in poor nutritional state, there were a variety of old and new wounds over its body and both eyes had some damage.
“These conditions in a smaller animal are often treatable if it can be taken into care, however to transport a seal of this size and age would have caused it immense stress and probably further suffering. Therefore the decision was made by the attending vet to put the animal to sleep.
“We would like to thank all our volunteers who spent three days on the beach with the animal, Burnham House Veterinary Surgery, RSPCA – Mallydams Wood and the people of Ramsgate for their understanding.”