Bemused residents in rural Merseyside, in north-west England, faced a conundrum when they woke up to the sight of a seal stranded in a field miles away from the coast. The young male grey seal was discovered on Monday by a dog walker. It was flapping against a fence post by Newton brook in Newton-le-Willows, near St Helens, which is 20 miles inland. Police, animal rescue officers and a farmer used brooms and metal fences to try to herd the distressed animal into a trailer. Eventually a piece of mackerel did the trick, and the disorientated outsider was captured and transferred to a wildlife centre in Nantwich, Cheshire. Curious onlookers, who were warned not to get too close to the seal because of the aggressive nature of the animals, concluded the most likely explanation was it had travelled up the river Mersey before getting lost in the brook. There is a grey seal colony near Hilbre Island in the Dee estuary, which is 50 miles away. The unusual scene drew a lot of local interest as police called for help from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue Service (BDMLR), the animal welfare charity RSPCA and the Merseyside fire service. Rachael Fraser, from BDMLR, said: “We think he’s come from the Mersey area, which is tidal, and he’s come up the bank here and he’s got lost. It’s very unusual.” More via The Guardian.
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