Cornwall

Sick seal dies after being 'harassed' into sea in Cornwall

Seal pup which had to be put down Image copyright British Divers Marine Life Rescue
Image caption The seal pup was found two days later near Nanjizal, but had to be put down the following day

A seriously ill grey seal pup has died days after being harassed into the sea by a group of people.

Help had already been called for the sick animal but it was scared into the water on a beach near Land's End, Cornwall, before rescuers arrived.

The seal pup was found two days later near Nanjizal, but had to be put down the following day.

Marine animal rescue charities are warning people to stay away from seals which they find on beaches.

Veterinary support coordinator for British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), Natalie Waddington, said they knew something was wrong when they arrived at the beach.

"She was draped over the rocks as if she had just been washed up and left behind rather than hauling up there by herself," she said.

"Her mouth was bloody and badly infected and there were two deep injuries to the right side of her head, one of them into her eye socket, that were also infected and swollen."

Rescuers took her to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, but despite treating her overnight, she had to be put to sleep the following day.

The charity says people should not touch or move the animals because they could be weak, ill or injured.

There has been an increase in cases of seals being "harassed into the sea" -either intentionally or unintentionally - in the last few years, the charity said.

It says seals often also rest on beaches while digesting food, while pups sometimes sleep on the sand before going back into the sea.

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