Animal rescuers are ramping up their efforts to free a north-east seal that has lived for three years with its neck trapped in a dog bowl.
Frisbee has been regularly spotted at the Ythan Estuary, near Newburgh, since photographs of her predicament began circulating in 2015.
The animal was spotted with the item, which is believed to be made of silicone, and was initially thought to be an actual frisbee, stuck around her neck.
The seal has become a regular fixture at the beach ever since.
Closer inspection revealed that the item, which has left the mammal with “horrific” scarring around her neck, is in fact the outer rim of a dog bowl.
It has been spotted either around her neck and, from time to time, around the top of her head.
Last night Lee Watson, a British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) medic and founder of the Ythan Seal Watch, said every time she goes back into the water there is a risk of her not coming back.
Marine entanglements are very common among seals, and can often lead to feeding problems and even death.
About 14 of the sea creatures at the Ythan colony, which is 2,000-strong, are estimated to be living ensnared in debris.
Medics face serious difficulties in tracking down the seals and removing entanglements – which has to be done without disturbing large seal colonies such as the one at the Ythan Estuary.
The BDMLR has already made attempts to help Frisbee.
Mr Watson said: “Marine entanglements is a big, big problem, there are about 13 or 14 seals there at the minute with everything from metal rings to fishing nets (around them). Anything they can get their head into they end up getting their heads stuck in.
“Frisbee was originally called that because that is what we thought it was on her – a dog’s frisbee.
“It’s just the inconvenience of it, we are surprised that it has not worn her down. It has not caused any serious injury.
“She won’t grow any bigger, and it won’t cut any deeper.
“She’ll disappear for a few months at a time, and that is always a worrying period. A lot of the ones with netting around them haven’t been seen since.
“Although it is a bad thing to happen, we know that that seal has been resident at the haul-out for two to three years and is always coming back. We have not given up hope of helping her.”
Mr Watson called for anyone who spots Frisbee at the estuary, or any other seal which is trapped in debris, to call the BDMLR.
Ythan Seal Watch also advises people to view the seals from across the water, at the south side of the estuary, to avoid disturbing the colony.
It comes just days after Mr Watson, along with BDMLR colleagues Dave Hawkins and Cristina Elliot, managed to free another seal entangled in netting.
It had first been spotted in May last year.
The team had been dispatched to assist a different seal seen with netting stuck to it.
Mr Watson said: “We do lots of attempts at try and get them, more often than not they go down to the water before you can get them. One we managed to get on Thursday at the back of the group.
“The reserve had contacted the BDMLR. Three or four of us are on standby, we got called out and headed straight down.
“We went down to look for one but by the time we were down there he’d moved.
“Just as we were leaving…this one popped it’s head up. We did an assessment on where it was.”
The team “restrained” the seal without disturbing the wider colony and carefully cut the netting off of its neck, before releasing it.
Mr Watson added: “If they are not injured enough to be ill, they’ll put up a fight. This one was really, really feisty.”