Stricken seals and dead porpoises – exhausted marine life has been stranded and washed up on Northumberland beaches, in what has been described by a wildlife campaigner as a ‘very sorry sight’.
A combination of the recent extreme cold weather and the rough stormy waters has proved a nightmare for sea creatures, with many forced to take refuge on the shore.
Over the last week, seals have been spotted at Alnmouth, Craster and Cresswell, while another was hit by a car further down the coast at Seaton Carew.
There have also been dead porpoise strandings, while Alnmouth beach has been described as an octopus apocalypse.
Volunteer marine medic, Jane Hardy, from Alnwick, has been along the coastline, as part of her efforts for British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) and Northumberland Coast Care.
She said: “It is a very sorry sight and on Monday morning it was like an octopus apocalypse on Alnmouth beach.
“The marine mammals are exhausted. It’s difficult to fish in these tough conditions and the seals are having to haul out higher to escape the recent flooding tides.
“I attended the seal at Alnmouth beach, but it wasn’t in a safe location to extract as it was sitting on a grassy overhang.
“Other than minor swelling above its eye, it appeared to be in good health, so I left it and went back the following day and it was gone.
“Meanwhile, the seal at Craster went back into the sea off the road by itself when it decided it preferred risking the rough seas rather than be disturbed by humans with cameras.
“The seal that got hit at Seaton Carew ended up at Morris and Plumley vets in Alnwick and was later released.”
Jane also issued advice to anyone who spots a seal on land. She said: “Keep a safe distance from resting seals so that they can recover without the stress of human and canine disturbance. If the seal appears sick or injured, or if there’s a stranded porpoise, whale or dolphin, call BDMLR on 01825 765546 or 07787 433412.”