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Weimaraner the baby seal dies after dramatic rescue from River Orwell in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 17:03 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:03 10 August 2017

Weimaraner the seal, pictured the day after being rescued from the River Orwell in Ipswich, near the Sir Bobby Robson Bridge. Picture: RSPCA

Weimaraner the seal, pictured the day after being rescued from the River Orwell in Ipswich, near the Sir Bobby Robson Bridge. Picture: RSPCA

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The baby seal rescued from the river near the Sir Bobby Robson Bridge in Ipswich has sadly died, the RSPCA has said.

Weimaraner the seal, pictured here recovering from his ordeal. Picture: RSPCAWeimaraner the seal, pictured here recovering from his ordeal. Picture: RSPCA

Rescuers faced a race against time to save the struggling seal last Wednesday evening after being alerted by a member of the public.

• Watch the dramatic footage of the rescue here, first seen on our Facebook Live.

Fire and RSPCA crews performed a dramatic rescue mission to save the underweight and fatigued seal. He was no more than eight weeks old and had become stranded on the weir.

It is thought the male common seal pup may have become separated from its mother and was searching for food. He was first spotted in the river two days previously.

On Wednesday evening, the seal was spotted clinging to the weir but moved back under water when specialist firefighters arrived in front of an anxious crowd in West End Road at around 4.45pm.

Against a rising tide, firefighters managed to locate the seal and brought him up to safety at around 6pm, prompting a large cheer.

The seal was stranded in the river before being rescued in Ipswich, near the Sir Bobby Robson Bridge. Picture: MATT STOTTThe seal was stranded in the river before being rescued in Ipswich, near the Sir Bobby Robson Bridge. Picture: MATT STOTT

He was taken to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre near Kings Lynn, where he was named Weimaraner. The centre is naming rescued seals after breeds of dogs this year.

However, despite the best efforts of RSPCA vets, the seal sadly passed away as a result of septicaemia on Saturday. Staff were said to be very upset.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “When Weimaraner came to us he was extremely poorly and emaciated, and weighed just 9.4kg (20.7 pounds).

“Sadly, despite the best efforts of our veterinary staff, he did not respond to treatment and sadly died on Saturday, August 5.

“His results have shown he died from septicaemia.”

• It is not uncommon for seals to find their way into harbours or rivers, and have been known to travel quite far inland.

They are usually looking for food and generally​ find their way out to sea again, unless they are sick​, when they will haul themselves out of the water.

Occasionally, seals may come into trouble if they pass canal locks, weirs or similar obstructions as they can prevent them travelling back down river to the sea.

If you see a seal swimming and appears healthy, it should be left alone, the RSPCA advises. If the seal is at risk, cannot get back due to river obstruction such as a lock or weir, is sick or injured, or if its a pup and the mother has not returned for 24 hours, please contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

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