Seal sculpture used to warn beachgoers of dangers of flying rings

A sculpture of a seal with a flying ring stuck round its neck will tour beaches this summer as campaigners seek to raise awareness of the threat posed by the plastic toys.

The Norfolk-based Friends Of Horsey Seals charity launched the flying rings campaign last year after a series of the blubbery marine mammals came to harm around the coastline of East Anglia.

A seal nicknamed Mrs Frisbee was rescued at Horsey beach in 2017 with a flying disc around her neck, which was wedged tight and cut into her as she continued to grow.

At least two more seals with flying discs round their necks were taken to an RSPCA centre at East Winch, near King’s Lynn, for treatment by early 2019.

Campaign co-ordinator Jenny Hobson with the sculpture of a seal with a flying ring stuck round its neck. The model is being used to demonstrate the dangers of the toys and will tour beaches this summer. (Richard Hobson/ Friends of Horsey Seals/ PA)
Campaign co-ordinator Jenny Hobson with the sculpture of a seal with a flying ring stuck round its neck. The model is being used to demonstrate the dangers of the toys and will tour beaches this summer. (Richard Hobson/ Friends of Horsey Seals/ PA)

In each case staff cut the plastic ring off and nursed the weakened seal back to health.

Friends of Horsey Seals said it has this year stepped up its leaflet and poster campaign with the creation of a life-size seal sculpture with a ring around its neck to use as an education tool.

It has nicknamed the sculpture Sealy, and the base of the model features flying rings that have been cut in half.

The volunteer group said that the model, made by a local artist and funded by Cromer town council, will be taken to beaches to urge people not to discard flying rings.