Seal rescued in Harwich after people threw stones at the animal

A seal has been rescued after people reportedly threw stones and apples at the animal.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) said a seal was taken to hospital after it was found in Harwich, Essex.

Rescuers had previously assessed, marked, and released the animal in Felixstowe, but its condition worsened.

It had been ashore since Friday and was taken to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital.

Anthony Wilde, a member of the Marine rescue team, said when his team arrived to collect the seal, police were leaving the area.

He said: "We marked and released the seal in Felixstowe, normally when we do this we see seals looking relatively healthy but we do monitor them before taking decisive action.

"We found this seal again and police were in attendance because people had reportedly been throwing stones and apples at it.

"It was getting dark, the tide was going out, it had no intention on going back in the sea and was coughing and sneezing so the decision was made to uplift the seal and take to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital."

Mr Wilde said this was the second "rescue" of the day after first being called to the River Colne, Essex.

A porpoise was spotted in the river, much further up than is typical for the animals.

The dolphin-like species has protection under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970. The advice to the public was to stand back and observe, and if it became stranded or had visual injuries the BDMLR would intervene.

"Last night it was heading out towards the Colchester Sea Cadets ship, and there was two of them, even though only one decided to venture up the river," said Mr Wilde.

"They seemed to be going in the right direction, and at that point we got called to the seal check."

Once the BDMLR arrived at the scene with the seal, police officers left the area.

A spokesperson from the Essex Police said: "We were called to reports of concern for the welfare of an animal in Harbour Crescent, Harwich, at about 15:35 GMT on Saturday 16 March. "At the scene we found a seal which was left in the care of Marine Life Rescue, and we left the scene at about 16:55 GMT."

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