A happy ending for this South American fur seal that almost died when it got its head stuck in a piece of plastic sheeting that opened up a gaping wound in its neck.
The images of the seal show it on the beach with the huge piece of plastic stuck that prevented it from swimming properly through the water.
But now the South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis) is recovered well enough to be released safely back to the sea on the beach of San Clemente del Tuyu, in the eastern Argentina province of Buenos Aires, on 25th July.
The seal had been rescued on 1st July after tourists spotted the animal with the plastic stuck surrounding the neck on the beach of Punta Medanos and called the Defence Civil Department which called the rescue centre of Foundation Mundo Marino.
Vanesa Traverso, a biologist of the organization who attended the emergency said in a press statement obtained by Newsflash that “when we arrived, we met with the people who had called after spotting the animal”.
They had reportedly removed the plastic from the neck, but the biologist said that “even though they acted in good faith, it is not recommendable because of the possibility of an illness being transmitted and also for the risk to the person being bitten as a syllable not necessarily realise a person is trying to help”.
The animal was carried to the facilities of the foundation and vets checked it and took blood and urine samples.
Juan Pablo Loureiro, vet and technical director of the foundation, said that the results of the tests showed that it was having an infection and anaemia and therefore it was treated with antibiotics both orally and also in the area around the wound.
The animal was also found to be underweighted but this quickly changed once it was being cared for and the plastic had been removed.
It was released along with another South American fur seal which had been rescued in the municipality of La Lucila del Mar in April this year. It had also ended up malnourished after an injury to its left flipper and self of the queue of antibiotics.
The video shows this animal rushing to the sea to return to its natural habitat. The other seal with the injury to the neck is seen also being released but it takes longer to go into the sea.
Tragically, injuries caused by plastic around the necks of seals are not uncommon.
In May, another seal was rescued in Aguas Verdes because it had also a plastic bag around its neck. It had to be looked after for three weeks but it managed to regain its fitness in the games and then returned to the sea after the recovery process.
This species is polygamous and gives birth to one offspring per year. Its name is given because of the two layers of hair, one intern, which is impermeable that keeps skin dry, and the second that is external covering the first layer and giving the seal its distinctive colour.