A woman walking along her local beach came across a seal in need of rescue and didn’t hesitate to step up and help out. Someone captured the rescue on a video and then posted it to TikTok.
“I know you aren’t supposed to approach a seal on the beach. But this one was begging for help,” Katie O (@katieroseorange) wrote. The seal had become entangled in what appeared to be part of a fishing net, with several pieces of rope and wire wrapped around its neck. It was unable to free itself and was clearly having a very hard time.
But luckily, Katie was willing to risk getting bitten. She managed to unwrap the net, freeing the adorable creature and avoiding its panicked flailing and nipping in the process.
After being extricated, the exhausted seal decided to stay where it was and took a nap.
“I waited with her (at a safe distance) for the animal rescue to come,” Katie wrote. “She slept it off, and I have heard she was able to go back out to sea.”
Part 2: Before and After the untangling….♬ original sound – Katie O
The rescue was reminiscent of a similar one, also posted to TikTok, that occurred in Namibia. The fact that two different TikTokers came across seals wrapped in fishing nets is, unfortunately, not a coincidence. Discarded nets and trash pose a major threat to seals and other marine life.
According to a 2021 study published by ScienceDaily, hundreds of Cape fur seals are entangled in fishing nets every year. Sadly, not all of them are fortunate enough to have humans come along and untangle them.
“A high number of affected animals are pups and juveniles, which were mainly entangled around the neck with fishing line, causing horrific injuries and resulting in a slow, painful death,” the study said.
Discarded nets, or “ghost nets,” endanger marine life in more ways than one. They also significantly contribute to the ocean plastics crisis, as most are made of plastic compounds that take centuries to decompose, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Though there are groups working to remove these nets from the ocean, the problem remains on the rise.
Still, it is heartening to see an animal being saved from such a terrible fate, as many of the comments on the TikTok video pointed out.
“Thank [you] for [your] service,” one commenter wrote.
“Aww he looked so peaceful and happy after it was off. Thank you,” another said.
“The world needs more people like you guys,” a third commenter added.
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