A popular south west London seal named after Freddie Mercury has died after an attack by a dog near Hammersmith Bridge on Sunday.
The popular seal, who has entertained south-west Londoners during lockdown and been spied from Hammersmith Bridge all the way down to Teddington, suffered severe injuries in Sundat afternoon’s attack and had to be put down yesterday.
Members of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) took Freddie to a wildlife hospital in Essex, but x-rays showed a broken bone, but also a dislocation, damage to his joint, ligaments and nerves that made it impossible to treat and return him to the wild.
In a statement on the group’s Facebook page, Alan Knight OBE, CEO of BDMLR said: “Freddie was a wild seal and after the ferocious attack on Sunday he suffered a serious broken and dislocated flipper. We contacted one of the UK’s leading orthopaedic surgeons, and he said that unfortunately the only option was to euthanase the seal.”
The statement continues: “We are all absolutely gutted to hear about the extent of the injuries Freddie suffered, and this highlights yet again the serious problems that can arise when humans and dogs encounter wild animals.
“We hope that his story will go a long way to helping educate people to look up and follow the appropriate guidelines for how to behave respectfully around wild animals and not cause disturbance or worse to them.
“We would like to thank again everyone who was involved in his rescue yesterday and for the huge outpouring of support that has followed in the wake of this incident. All we can hope now is that people can learn from this and help keep our wildlife safe.”
Freddie had previously been rescued by the group when he got a hook stuck in his lip, and after that incident, he was taken to the Isle of Sheppey in Kent to start a new life near the Thames Estuary.
However, Freddie simply couldn’t stay away, and returned down the Thames to his regular haunt at Hammersmith Bridge.
The Met Police confirmed they were investigating and the RPSCA were also informed of the death.
Dog attacks on other animals have risen in lockdown, as Richmond Park released footage earlier this year of an attack by a dog that ended up resulting in the death of a deer, to warn park visitors of the dangers of taking dogs off their leashes.
Featured image credit: BDMLR