Seal Strangled By Fishing Net Finally Rescued After Months Of Suffering
"I was absolutely determined that we would succeed this time."
Last May, surveyors from the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust in England spotted something that broke their hearts — a young gray seal entangled in a fishing net which had become tightly wrapped around his neck.
The seal, dubbed "Lucky Star," was in serious danger of being strangled to death, and he had no way of escaping the predicament on his own.
After that first sighting, a team of rescuers tried its best to intervene, but Lucky Star fled into the ocean before he could be captured onshore. Those trying to help him were disappointed, but they were determined to save the seal's life.
Lucky Star was seen numerous times in the following weeks and months, though reaching him was a different story.
"When he was seen, he would often be heartbreakingly just out of reach, either hauled out on offshore rocks or swimming in the sea where it was impossible to get him," the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust said in a release.
But then came a lucky break.
On Monday, four months after he was first discovered, a volunteer sighted Lucky Star in a position on the shore where he could be reached. And with that, a rescue team made up of Dan Jarvis and Sue Sayer rushed to the scene.
Jarvis was able to restrain Lucky Star before he could flee — allowing Sayer to cut the rope around his neck.
This was the moment Lucky Star's life was saved.
Once the stranglehold was gone, the extent of Lucky Star's suffering became more apparent.
"Underneath the net, a raw deep wound was revealed across the back of his neck that would have caused him a great deal of pain every time he moved," the Trust wrote. Thankfully, though, now the seal was able to heal.
Sayer cleaned the wound and treated it with antibiotics, determining that Lucky Star was well enough to be released.
And with that, he was freed to begin his second chance at a normal life.
Sadly, such cases of entanglement aren't uncommon — and an untold number of marine animals' lives are lost as a result.
Though it took a massive effort, Lucky Star was spared from being added to that grim statistic.
“I’ve watched this animal too many times and not been able to rescue him to allow him to slip away one more time. Winter is coming, and this may well have been our last chance to save him," Jarvis said. "I was absolutely determined that we would succeed this time, and it finally felt like we had some luck on our side at last too. We were all overjoyed as well as relieved that we were finally able to save him from a slow and painful death."