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The grey seal had serious injuries to one of its flippers, which were caused by a fishing line that had cut into its bone, when it washed up on Chesil Beach in West Bexington, Dorset.
However, it didn't take long for people to close in on the suffering mammal in an attempt to take photos, in turn scaring it away back into the water.
The seal ended up returning to shore a second time several hours later, but at this point it at dusk when most people had left - apart from one concerned member of the public, who spotted it and called the RSPCA.
Derek Davey, a local wildlife expert, temporarily took care of the seal, before it was transferred to the RSPCA centre at West Hatch near Taunton, Somerset.
The animal was treated for its injuries, but tragically it later died.
Davey said that, while the seal would have probably died anyway, its pain was prolonged by the delay in its rescue, slamming the onlookers who surrounded and scared the pup.
He said: "Taking photographs and crowding around it made it go back into the water to get away.
"Luckily it later came ashore again hours later. It would still have been the same result had it been rescued earlier but it must have endured quite a sow death by going back into the sea.
"It had a fishing line around its flipper which had dug into the bone and the wound was infected."
Update - the injured seal pup that was chased back into the sea yesterday by people taking photos has been safely confined and taken to our wildlife hospital - thanks to @BDMLR and Insp. Ken Snook #helpourwildlife @RSPCA_official @RSPCAWestHatch 78 pic.twitter.com/6hvijibf43- RSPCA Frontline (@RSPCA_Frontline) November 25, 2019
The RSPCA said the seal was in an 'emaciated condition' and had an infection in its bones.
A spokesman for the charity said: "The wildlife vet cleaned the wound out but the infection was already in the bone and so the decision was made to put the seal to sleep based on the extent of this injury and the impact it would have on the future of the seal.
"The vet said the wound was narrow, and deep, and although they did not find anything within the wound which could have caused it, it is thought something like fishing line had been wrapped around it."
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