Malnourished Seal Pup Put To Sleep After Being Hit With Boat Propeller

A malnourished seal pup injured by a boat propeller has been put to sleep.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR)—a U.K.-based charity dedicated to rescuing marine wildlife—said in a Facebook post on Saturday it had found the injured pup in Mylor, southwestern England, earlier this month.

The charity said in the post that the grey seal pup's injuries were "consistent with a boat propeller strike."

The propeller had "luckily" not penetrated her chest cavity, even though the injuries initially seemed severe, the charity said.

However, the unfortunate pup was also malnourished, weighing just 10.3 kilograms (around 23 pounds)—several pounds less than what grey seal pups usually weigh at birth.

Charity veterinarians took the pup to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue seal hospital. But shorty after admission her condition worsened and she didn't respond to treatment. Eventually, the decision was taken to euthanize the pup to "relieve her from further suffering."

"Unfortunately not every rescue has a happy ending, but at least we were able to free her from her trauma and pain," the Facebook post said.

The charity urged people to take care when traveling by boat in ecosystems where seals and other marine wildlife live.

"We wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone to always stay vigilant when operating watercraft, and remember that you are in the habitat of many wild species," the charity said. "It is their home, so let's help to protect them."

The seal hospital is also currently treating two other pups, dubbed "Rock pipit" and "Tern," according to an Instagram post from the charity.

The former was rescued on November 21 from Portheras Cove on the southwestern tip of England.

"She was very lucky indeed to be rescued, as she was found entangled in monofilament fishing net," the charity said.

"Entanglement can be extremely serious for growing seal pups, as the material does not give way as they grow. This can lead to devastating wounds developing and other health conditions associated with their impeded ability to swim and catch food."

"She was well wrapped up in the fishing line and we dread to think what might have become of her if BDMLR hadn't managed to rescue her. Thankfully the netting was tight but hadn't yet resulted in any serious injuries and she is now undergoing rehab primarily due to being underweight. She is doing very well and enjoying her fish!"

Tern, meanwhile, was rescued from nearby Holywell Bay on November 22. When she was found, the pup was underweight and "very poorly" with a "nasty" respiratory infection that made it hard for her to breathe.

The seal now seems to be responding well to treatment and her breathing seems to be improving, the charity said.

A young grey seal
Stock image showing a young grey seal. A seal found on the coast of England had to be put down after being struck by a boat propeller. iStock