Good news. Kings Lynn Borough Council has banned flying rings from its beaches following a long running campaign supported by Friends of Horsey Seals. Jenny Hobson, a warden and volunteer at the RSPCA wildlife centre in East Winch, launched a campaign against flying rings in 2018 after seeing the horrific injuries seals sustain after getting these beach toys stuck around their necks.
Playful and curious young seals sometimes try and swim through the rings, but then can’t take them off. As they grow, the edge of the rigid plastic cuts into their necks causing deep and often infected wounds, which can lead to starvation and death. When they are found, Friends of Horsey Seals rescuers take them to the RSPCA centre where the rings are cut off and the wound treated with antibiotics, pain relief and weeks of healing salt baths. Jenny and her team have focused on asking visitors not to take the rings onto the beach and persuading coastal shops not to stock them. The council’s cabinet voted to “prohibit the use of flying rings on council beaches and proactively discourage their use in other areas where they could end up in the sea”. Jenny Hobson believes the authority is the first council to take such action and she hopes that others will follow suit.