UK officials are being praised after saving a helpless seal that swam around for weeks with a Red Bull can stuck in its mouth.
“We are delighted to hear that its ordeal has had such a positive outcome,” wrote Lagan Search and Rescue in a Facebook post about the rescue, which occurred over the weekend.
The imperiled pinniped was first spotted Oct. 6 with the can metal lodged in its lower jaw near the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, the BBC reported.
Harbor police attempted to rescue the animal, but the “plucky little seal” swam off and had not been seen since. They renewed the search efforts two days later, this time with help from a local aquarium, as the seal was at risk of drowning due to its impromptu muzzle.
However, the critter was not spotted again until it popped up in Scotland two weeks later — some 80 miles from its original spot. Ministry of Defense police officers discovered the animal resting on a storm drain, whereupon they removed its portable prison.
Animal lovers were overjoyed that the marine mammal found freedom.
“Great to hear, hopefully he’ll not learn any bad habits while in Scotland,” gushed one grateful seal supporter on Facebook, while another added, “Please donate to a marine wildlife charity and campaign for responsible recycling in recompense to this poor creature?”
In light of the incident, Ministry of Defense Police Clyde Marine Unit officers are urging people “to take extra care in how they dispose of their rubbish near any waterway,” an a spokesperson told the BBC.
Indeed, trash — especially the plastic variety — has proven a scourge for marine life, with an estimated 11 million tons making its way annually into the oceans.
However, it’s not just sea creatures that need to worry about the global trash epidemic. Last week, Colorado officers freed an elk that had been wandering around for two years with a tire stuck around its neck.
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