Seal that slid into local pub and a trapped fox among RSPCA’s ‘top rescues’ of 2022

Almost a year ago, unwitting New Year pub drinkers in Hanham learned the answer to a bad joke when a seal wandered into the bar, but thankfully there was no punchline about “breaking the seal”, or flipping out over prices, just a very friendly and curious seal making friends with pub punters.

Though the staff at the Old Lock and Weir attempted to detain the seal with milk crates, he was a bit of an “escape artist” and proved a handful until the RSPCA arrive to rescue the young seal. This tale of an escaped seal topped the RSPA’s list of its best rescues of the year, alongside a previously unknown story of a fox saved from strangulation on a Bristol farm.

Nacho, the young seal who made a bid for dry land, was taken to RSPCA West Hatch in Somerset where veterinarians found that the six-month old seal was underweight and injured, having trekked 300 miles from Scotland in just over two months.

READ MORE: Seal found on Bristol pub’s doorstep after astonishing journey from Scotland

At the time, landlord Daniel Rawlins told Bristol Live: “He was wandering up outside on the road heading towards the pub. He got to the wall and was literally at the front door.

“He was a hit with the customers – he was a bit of a cutie to be honest. He’d come a long way for a pint!”

The seal frolicking near the beer kegs
(Image: Daniel Rawlins/ Old Lock & Weir)

The seal was later nursed back to health by the RSPCA. West Hatch wildlife supervisor Paul Oaten said: “It’s certainly unusual for a seal to turn up at a pub like Nacho did! The River Avon runs from the coast all the way along through Keynsham where the pub is situated at the water’s edge, so it’s likely he found his way there swimming upstream from the coast.”

All animals, great and small

Nacho was not the only close-call rescue the animal protection charity had this year either, in August RSPCA rescuer Ellie Jones was called to a farm outside Bristol after farmers discovered a fox in a life-threatening situation – trapped in the cables of a livestock trailer.

Rescuer Ellie said: “This fox was so lucky to have been seen, she was so tightly tangled in the wire around her neck where she had struggled in a panic.

“There’s no way she could have freed herself and if she’d continued to struggle the wire would have become tighter and tighter and she would have likely been strangled.

“Luckily the farm owners reported her to us and I was able to free her as quickly as possible. I could see that her face looked swollen which made me concerned she might have some injuries or bruising, so I felt it was best to take her to a localwildlife rehabilitation clinic to be assessed, just to be safe.”

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA Inspectorate Commissioner, said: “With our teams out rescuing animals from danger and suffering 365 days a year, we are often their only hope. It’s an honour to be able to lend a hand to animals in desperate need and we hope people enjoy seeing some of the weird and wonderful places animals have found themselves in need of our help.

“This winter we’re asking people to show their support by joining the rescue to help us raise funds to make sure we can continue to be there for animals in need.”

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