A seal trapped in a fishing lake since December has died during a rescue attempt, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) has said.
The seal was first spotted at Rochford Reservoir in Essex on December 12.
There were several attempts to rescue the seal, which was injured and had consumed the lake’s fish stock.
The BDMLR said the seal was ‘darted’ with anesthetic but ‘evaded capture’ and died in the water.
“This is a very sad outcome of a very delicate situation,” a spokesperson said.
“Saving an animal using anesthetic carries a significant risk, but in this case the coalition deemed it worth taking.”
Marine rescuer Simon Dennis had previously said it was likely the seal had come up the River Roach from the sea, via an entrance.
He said the harbor seal probably had ‘no incentive to leave’ the lake as it had ‘found itself in a branch of Waitrose’ and was ‘chewing its way through the fish’.
The reservoir is owned by Rochford District Council, but Nick North of Marks Hall Fisheries has held the permit for 11 years.
Mr North was concerned that the seal was consuming the fish in the lake, which he had restocked and done extensive work on.
“To see it all lost to a seal walking into a lake it doesn’t belong to is ridiculous,” he previously said.
The BDMLR has previously stated that tranquilizers “do not work well with [seals]” and could lead to drowning.
In a statement, the organization said the rescue attempt was carried out by “a coalition of organisations” including the BDMLR, Rochford District Council, South Essex Wildlife Hospital, police and the Agency for Wildlife. ‘environment.
He said the seal “had an open wound on its hind flipper and an eye injury”, and rescuers had hoped to treat the injuries and rehabilitate the seal before returning it to the sea.
“A specialist vet managed to dart the seal with a special dart gun and anesthetic, but unfortunately due to unforeseeable complications the animal evaded capture and is believed to have died under anesthetic while ‘he was in the water,’ the statement read.
The organization said there was “deep disappointment and deep sadness that the operation was not successful”.
“Nevertheless, as the seal was threatened with being shot in order to remove it from the lake, it was deemed worthwhile to try to catch it and move it in order to save its life,” he said.
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