An 11-year-old environmental campaigner saved the life of a malnourished seal pup she found while litter picking – keeping watch over it for two-and-a-half hours.
Tia Alderson was beach cleaning with her mum Katy Alderson, 43, when she spotted the orphan baby animal.
With its mothers nowhere in sight, it was too tired to swim because it hadn’t eaten and couldn’t rest due to too many people.
Tia called the RSPCA and British Divers Marine Life Rescue – and watched over George the seal for hours at Whitburn beach in Sunderland, to ensure it wouldn’t get hurt.
Animal-lover Tia also knew bacteria in the seal’s mouth posed a danger to dogs.
The year six pupil said: “I’m really happy I stayed with baby George, because if I hadn’t, he would have died from exhaustion.
“With all the disturbance on the beach, he would have been too tired to swim when the sea came back in.
“It really does feel brilliant knowing I’ve saved something’s life, and it has inspired me to help out more people and animals.”
The animal experts tagged the seal, wrapped him up and transported him through the Tyne Tunnel to St Mary’s Island, at Whitley Bay.
Proud mum Katy, from Seaburn, Sunderland, added: “The two ladies who came to assist sent Tia a video of George being released on the island – she was ecstatic about that.
“When the RSPCA and British Divers Marine Life Rescue arrived, they confirmed that the seal was very stressed and malnourished.”
The schoolgirl – nicknamed Greta by her teachers – is part of a ‘Save Our Earth’ group with her friends where they often help the local community.