One shocking discovery of a headless seal was made on January 2 at Anderby Creek beach, near Skegness. Images of the gruesome sight reveal a clean, straight cut along the neck of the animal, and the skull remained next to the carcass. The carcass appeared to have huge chunks missing from its body and tail. Locals reached out to wildlife organisations and East Lindsey District Council for help to remove the seal.
Authorities are now on a quest to find answers.
While it is not fully clear how the seal suffered the fatal injuries, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust suspect that the seal might have become entangled in a net.
In a statement, the organisation said: “The seal on the beach at Anderby Creek is very decomposed and has probably been dead for several months and floating out to sea. Recent winds and tides finally brought it to the coast.
“It’s not possible to determine exactly what has happened to the seal but the straight line cut around the shoulder may have been because of entanglement in net which has garrotted the animal.
“Scavengers and decomposers find it easier to start attacking the head as there are easy portals to get a mouthful/toothhold, for example, of eyes, ears, mouth etc. The head can get easily removed as there is only a small part of the spine holding it onto the body. Going in straight to the torso is quite difficult for scavengers as the skin is tough.”
The organisation is now warning people about how devastating an impact marine litter can have.
Its statement read: “It’s tragic to see a dead seal washed up on the beach in this way but it highlights the dangers the animals face from netting, rope and other discarded waste in the marine environment.
“The impact of marine litter is huge – one million birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed by plastic litter every year around the world.”
But while marine litter is one explanation for the ghastly event, some have drawn more sinister conclusions.
Haley Williams, 41, from Nottingham, came across one of the headless seals while she was on holiday with her husband.
“He carried on walking towards where the seal was and we came off the beach because I felt unsettled by his comments.”
But this is not the only beheaded seal that has been spotted.
On December 31, another beheaded seal was also found by beach walkers at Chapel St Leonards beach.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is hosting New Year beach clean events this weekend to help combat the threat of marine litter to animals.
Additional reporting by Eleanor Maslin in https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/mystery-surrounds-beheaded-seals-washed-6445586.