Seal pup rescued after getting stuck in field 18 miles from sea

A seal pup was found in the middle of a field in Walton-le-Dale, 18 miles from sea <i>(Image: RSPCA)</i>
A seal pup was found in the middle of a field in Walton-le-Dale, 18 miles from sea (Image: RSPCA)

A video has been released of a seal pup being rescued after it was found in the middle of a farmer’s field, 18 miles from sea.

The grey seal was spotted about a kilometre away from the River Ribble near the Capitol Centre in Walton-le-Dale on Sunday (January 22).

It appeared the seal had wandered across three fields before he was spotted by a member of the public, who alerted the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), the RSPCA and the practice manager from the nearby Vets4Pets.

Lancashire Telegraph: A seal was found in the middle of a farmer's field in Walton-le-Dale
Lancashire Telegraph: A seal was found in the middle of a farmer's field in Walton-le-Dale

A seal was found in the middle of a farmer's field in Walton-le-Dale (Image: RSPCA)

RSPCA animal rescue officer Kelly Nix was sent to the scene and assisted the BDMLR in safely containing the seal in a cage, and then sought advice from the charity’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire.

She said: “The seal had come from the river - which is 18 miles inland from the coast - but this not unusual and seals are spotted in our waterways and will happily find their own way back to the sea.

“I spoke to specialists at our centre who were concerned about putting him back in the river due to the amount of dog walkers in the area as their pets could spook the seal, causing him to travel further inland.

Lancashire Telegraph: A seal was found in the middle of a farmer's field in Walton-le-Dale
Lancashire Telegraph: A seal was found in the middle of a farmer's field in Walton-le-Dale

A seal was found in the middle of a farmer's field in Walton-le-Dale (Image: RSPCA)

“So we took the seal, who looked really healthy, to the RNLI base in Fleetwood and we released him into the sea there.

"The seal was a bit reluctant to go in the water at first so had to gently encourage him.

“Then off he went into the sea - it was so heart-warming to see. I am not sure why he came so far inland but seals have been spotted in the river here before.

“It seems he then got out for a wander and must have lost his way so it was a good job his predicament was spotted.”

Rebecca Adair, practice manager at Vets4Pets in Preston Capitol, said: “I was out walking my dog when I spotted one of my neighbours frantically waving at me from across the field.

Lancashire Telegraph: The seal pup being returned to the sea in Fleetwood
Lancashire Telegraph: The seal pup being returned to the sea in Fleetwood

The seal pup being returned to the sea in Fleetwood (Image: RSPCA)

“I quickly realised he wasn’t just saying hello but was signalling for my help and I ran over to him right away.

"I’m not sure what I had expected to find, but I was definitely surprised to see the little seal pup stranded in the field.”

Rebecca said she has never had to treat a seal before.

She said:  “I’m a trained Veterinary Nurse and I’m used to helping poorly pets in my job at Vets4Pets on the Capitol Centre retail park, but I’ve never had to treat a seal before!

“Animals are my biggest passion and I always do everything I can to ensure they receive the love and care they deserve, and I knew we had to do whatever we possibly could to keep the seal pup safe and away from the road.”

Rebecca called her friend, Shaun Coathup, who came immediately to help, and her neighbours called the British Divers Marine Life Rescue to assist them.

Rebecca said: “While we waited for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue to arrive, we used blankets to try to corner the seal off and keep it away from danger.

"Once the rescue volunteers arrived, they called for back up to bring boards that would enable us to herd the seal into a crate so we could transport it safely back to sea.

“By this point, we’d been in the field for a few hours already and were growing more concerned for the safety of the seal.

"With back up over an hour away, we decided to improvise.

"I rallied a few more neighbours together and we used spare doors and gates to help ensure the seal couldn’t escape, while Shaun ran home and brought his Labrador’s crate so we could coax the seal to safety.

“After spending more than three hours out in the cold together trying to keep the seal safe, myself and the other neighbours were all so relieved to know the seal was finally safe and it was so rewarding to see the pictures of the pup being released back into the sea, knowing it had all been worth it."

The RSPCA advises if members of the public spot a seal that they observe them from a distance and do not approach them.

Seals are wild animals and have a nasty bite and it is not uncommon to see them in rivers. It is also advised to keep dogs on leads in areas that have seal colonies.

If you see a pup whose mother hasn’t returned within 24 hours, is on a busy public beach, or if you think the seal may be sick or injured, call the RSPCA’s advice and cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

There is more information on the RSPCA website about what to do if you see a seal or pup on the beach alone.