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Seal spotted in the river Severn
THERE was something fishy going on in the river Severn in Worcester this weekend when a slippery customer from the coast made an unexpected visit.
A harbour seal, more accustomed to the coastline than landlocked Worcestershire, was seen making itself at home in the river at Powick and Diglis.
Caroline Attwood-Reusser was among a party of paddlers from Pershore-based Wychavon Kayak and Canoe Club who had a close encounter with the marine mammal – also known as a common seal – on Saturday afternoon near to the battle site at Powick.
They nicknamed the seal Keith after a Royalist commander who served during the English Civil War.
She said: “We were trying to recreate a bridge of boats like Cromwell used and we were storming the Teme when we were just going under the big bridge and one of the young lads with us said, ‘There’s a seal’.
“He was diving under our boats, playing under the waves, doing tumble turns and showing us his spotty belly. He looked very healthy.
“It’s just so exciting. Kayaking is a bit like that – you get to see wildlife most people don’t and that’s always special. But to see something so unusual, especially with the kids, it just blew them away.”
The seal swam with the group for half-an-hour and was spotted the next day tucking into fish by Diglis weir. Carol and Vince Treagus were walking their dogs by Diglis docks at about 10.30am on Sunday when they saw it.
Mrs Treagus said: “It had a big fish in its mouth. We were chatting with the lady in lockkeeper’s cottage who said the seals come up every few weeks, with the high tide.
“They get up to Tewkesbury, and then come through the lock gates. Apparently, they get back the same way.”
Mr Treagus said: “He was right by the lock gate at Diglis, on the new bridge side, and he’d had a few fish.
“There were a lot of people stood watching and taking pictures – as it’s not something you usually see.”
Amy Sewell, senior marine mammal keeper at West Midland Safari Park, said it was likely the seal was a juvenile who had taken a wrong turn. She said: “As long as there’s food about, it’ll be fine. They’re very inquisitive and as long as people aren’t a threat to them, they’re not going to retaliate.
“They live in groups so they’re social animals – it could be he’s feeling a little lonely.”
An RSPCA spokesman said: “They don’t tend to stay long and will eventually make their own way out.
“There is usually no reason for us to intervene unless the animal is injured, sick or distressed. People should just enjoy observing them, as they won’t be there long.”
Anyone with specific concerns about the wellbeing of the seal should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.