The seal was spotted with a Red Bull can in its mouth several days ago. Rescuers have not been able to reach the scared animal to help so far.
Many enjoy the delight of seeing seals often gather around Northern Irish coasts and rivers. But there was nothing delightful this week about the seal spotted around the River Lagan that had a Red Bull can lodged in its lower jaw.
The young pup clearly was intrigued by the discarded energy drink tin. However, it came into trouble when it couldn’t remove it from its mouth.
Here to help – rescue crews in action
Last week, Lagan Search and Rescue deployed two crews to aid the poor seal to relieve it of the Red Bull can. However, despite their careful and dedicated efforts, the creature evaded attempts to help it.
A spokesperson for Lagan Search and Rescue stated, “We went out to try and help a slightly different part of the community than we normally deal with.
“Unfortunately, despite several efforts we weren’t able to relieve the pup of the Red Bull can.”
An unsuccessful rescue – the terrified seal’s attempt to evade crew
The main issue for the crew was that the seal remained startled by the rescue team’s presence. Whilst the rescue was taking place, the seal kept diving beneath their boat.
The unfortunate seal was then not seen for the rest of the day. It was then spotted the next morning again, according to Debbie Nelson from Debbie Doolittle’s Wildlife.
She explained the situation. “Before the team had boats close enough, it seems it got spooked by other seals and went to water again.
“It may be a case that once it’s gone a few days without food and is a bit weaker and not as quick to get away, that’s the chance to catch it.”
The Great Escape – don’t approach the animal
The seal escaped to the Belfast Lough and has not been seen recently. Staff from Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry, Northern Ireland’s only aquarium, is assisting on the hunt to find and rescue the animal.
Nelson has raised awareness of the seal for those around the Queens Island area. She has appealed for those to inform the Debbie Doolittle Wildlife organisation and local services if they spot the seal.
As well as this, she has advised the public not to approach the animal. “You are going to spook it and make an already nervous animal even more scared and hinder the rescue attempts.”
Seal at risk – dangers of the Red Bull can
Steven Yamin-Ali from Lagan Search and Rescue said the seal is at risk of drowning.
Speaking to BBC Evening Extra, Mr Yamin-Ali said, “We’re probably more concerned about members of the public going to help to seal and then getting into distress.”
He remains hopeful that the seal will reappear and that a successful rescue can take place to relieve the poor seal of the ed Bull can.