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Marine medic salutes couple who spent four hours guarding injured seal

PUBLISHED: 15:11 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:49 13 September 2019

Seal pup Shade was rescued from Holkham beach by Seal and Shore Watch UK. Picture: Tracy Kerr

Seal pup Shade was rescued from Holkham beach by Seal and Shore Watch UK. Picture: Tracy Kerr

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A couple who spent almost four hours protecting an injured seal from passing dogs have been praised for their efforts.

Seal pup Shade was rescued from Holkham beach by Seal and Shore Watch UK. Picture: Tracy KerrSeal pup Shade was rescued from Holkham beach by Seal and Shore Watch UK. Picture: Tracy Kerr

Tracy Kerr and Ron Morris, marine medics with Seal and Shore Watch UK, were sent to Holkham beach at 5.45pm on Thursday following a report of an injured pup.

Standing on the beach they found a couple who had stayed there for much of the afternoon, determined to ensure the pup received medical attention and wasn't attacked by dogs.

"We got the call from a couple called Diana and Simon," said Miss Kerr. "They'd been with the pup from 2pm calling the RSPCA, Holkham Estate, the police - but no one could come out.

"The couple are new to the area and hadn't heard of us, but eventually called as a last resort.

Seal pup Shade was rescued from Holkham beach by Seal and Shore Watch UK. Picture: Ron MorrisSeal pup Shade was rescued from Holkham beach by Seal and Shore Watch UK. Picture: Ron Morris

"When we initially saw the pup it was such a tired little thing. It obviously didn't want to be near water and was trying to move away from the sea but just couldn't because it was so weak."

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Unable to find an appropriate vet, Miss Kerr and Mr Morris kept the seal at their house in Wells overnight, before taking it to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre on Friday.

The underweight pup, who has since been named Shade due to her distinctive coat, was found to have a bone out of place and is being treated for lungworm.

Seal and Shore Watch has experienced one of its busiest years to date, with pups failing to respond to known treatments and members of the public intruding with seals' wellbeing.

Vet bills are therefore spiralling out of control, forcing the group to set up a Just Giving page to raise crucial funds.

But Miss Kerr, for whom yesterday was her first rescue, says the couple at Holkham are a glowing example of how the public should behave.

"There's not many people who would stay for that amount of time not knowing whether anyone will turn up," she added. "I've never met anyone quite so determined.

"We need more people like this. Holkham beach is such a popular beach with dog walkers and, if they'd walked away, I think a dog would have got hold of Shade.

"It's so essential for dogs to be kept on leads in these situations. I told someone to do so at Wells and got abused for it - you just have to smile and walk away."

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