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Tragic seal who lived entangled in fishing net put down after nearly drowning

A poor seal which has been entangled in a net for more than two years had to be put down after suffering from organ failure.

Rescuers tried desperately to save the mammal, named Hattie, after she was rescued from drowning last month, but she was too exhausted and the chances of her surviving in the wild were unlikely.

The unfortunate animal was discovered struggling on a beach near Land’s End in Cornwall, on April 28, after becoming wedged between boulders.

She faced drowning in high tide and was found by the Land’s End Coastguard Rescue Team and charity volunteers just in time.

BDMLR volunteers and the coastguards used rope hoists to free Hattie and, once released, the exhausted seal was carried in a rescue bag and driven to the BDMLR Seal Pup Hospital.

Once she arrived, Hattie’s condition rapidly deteriorated however, and tests revealed what was thought to be major organ dysfunction.

A spokesman for the hospital said the sad decision to put her down was taken after Hattie began “showing signs of a more complex, underlying illness going on”.

The spokesman added: “Some blood tests revealed that she was likely to be suffering from some major organ dysfunction.

“Hattie’s quality of life was declining and her chances of recovery from such a major illness and eventual release back into the wild were extremely slim.”

Hattie had already been identified as suffering a horrendous neck wound that was 1.5in deep from a discarded ghost net that had become stuck around her throat two years earlier.

She was believed to be a five-year-old female spotted by Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust in December 2018, with the fishing wire and netting lodged around her neck.

The spokesman added: “We are comforted at least by the fact that her final days were in an environment where she was safe and well cared for,” said the hospital spokesperson.

“She was a very special seal and one which I’m sure we will all remember.”

In the wild, seals can live for up to 30 years with females boasting a higher life expectancy than males.

The smallest seal species in existence is the Galapagos Fur Seal, which measures just 1m in length and 45kg in weight, whilst the largest is the Southern Elephant Seal, which weighs a staggering 3,850kgs and measures up to 5m in length.