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Dumped plastic sealed tragic Sugar's fate

January 1st, 2019 11:55 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Lough Hyne Lapper, Alice Clifford, did her best to save the baby seal, Sugar.

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A RESCUED seal pup that put up a feisty fight for life died because there was so much plastic in his system.

Alice Clifford, who lives near Lough Hyne, found the pup at Ballyalla, a few weeks ago, and arranged for him to receive proper care at Seal Rescue Ireland in Waterford.

However, the seal they named ‘Sugar’ has died because of all the waste found in his stomach. 

His death prompted Alice to say: ‘It is heart-breaking to see animals that we should be sharing the water with being so heavily affected by a lack of responsibility on our part.’

Alice, who is a member of the well-known wild swimming group the Lough Hyne Lappers, told The Southern Star: ‘You don’t see a lot of plastic at Lough Hyne – which is an inland seawater lake – but you do see all sorts of rubbish at nearby Ballyalla, where Sugar was found.’

At Ballyalla, Alice said, all the seaweed is littered with little bits of plastic. And she appealed to people to be mindful of their daily use of plastic.

She also said: ‘It is a stark reminder of the risks we face in allowing a plastics factory to be built in Skibbereen, an area that is very close to Roaringwater Bay and Lough Hyne.’

Alice is no stranger to readers of The Southern Star, having featured prominently for the ‘horse inside’ story after she brought her Shetland pony, Jude, into her home during Storm Ophelia.

The animal lover described how she found the seal while out walking her dog. ‘It was washed up at the tide-line and wasn’t moving much and its mother was nowhere to be seen.

‘I contacted Seal Rescue Ireland and they said he might just have been blown in by a storm and to go back and check on him in a few hours.

‘When I went back to check, he hadn’t moved at all and his nose and eyes were all gunky and crusty, so I sent the photos on to Seal Rescue Ireland and they told me he needed to come in.

‘I tried wrapping him in a towel, but that didn’t work so in the end I put him in a cardboard box and put him in the boot of my car. The plan had been to drive him to a vet in Cork, where he could spend the night, but by the time I had brought him in, the vet was full so I asked local vet Jerry McCarthy to take him in.

‘Sugar stayed with Jerry overnight and he gave him some steroids, antibiotics and some fluids and he seemed to perk up by the next morning.

‘The next day, I drove Sugar to Bandon where someone from Seal Rescue Ireland met me and he brought him to Waterford. At the rescue centre, they tried to flush Sugar’s stomach and, given the fact that he didn’t have a fever, everyone was optimistic, but sadly, he died from the rubbish in his system.’

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