SUPPORTERS of Worcestershire’s celebrity seal Keith have rallied behind the animal in their hundreds amid threats to shoot her if she can’t be removed from the river Severn.
The Angling Trust said they would be forced to take drastic action and secure a licence to shoot her using a qualified marksman to protect fish stocks and other wildlife.
Fans of the wayward seal, which has been spotted in Worcester, Upton-upon-Severn and Bewdley, have set up a petition and taking to social networking websites to voice their concerns and show their support.
Within its first day the petition had already gathered more than 200 signatures, while a Facebook page has more than 420 ‘likes’.
Writing on Facebook, Nick Drummer said: “Seals are a protected species. The idea that you can just shoot a protected species because it is in an inconvenient place, or costing you a few quid is, frankly, disgusting. You can't do it to bats, orchids or butterflies, why are seals any different?”
Rebecca Drozd added: “Disgusting ...why do anglers think they should control the rivers? At least Keith is fishing to eat rather than just for sport. I hope all the canoeist and other peaceful wildlife enthusiasts sign the petition.”
While Heather Dixon wrote: “I have read the angling trusts statement and I agree that keith should go back to his natural habitat as nature intended and I feel that the EA (Environment Agency) should assist in this matter.
“However, fishing is done as a sport or hobby not as a necessity. The rivers belong to all of us not just the angling trust and to shoot an animal based on a time scale given by them would be wrong.”
The Trust has written to a number of organisations, including the Environment Agency, demanding the seal, be relocated. Concerns have also be raised about Keith eating ducks and waterfowl.
However, the agency and RSPCA said they would not take any action as the seal would naturally make her way back to the sea.
For more information and to sign the petition, go to facebook.com/savetheseal or gopetition.com/petitions/save-keith-the-seal.html.