The carcass of a dead seal which has been lying at a St Andrews beauty spot for around five weeks, will not be removed despite efforts by the local community.
The smell from the decomposing animal has been described as horrendous by locals who have spent the last month trying to get authorities to take it away.
However, it was only today that Fife Coast and Countryside Trust confirmed that the rotting remains would not be moved from the scenic Castle Sands beach and that the seal would be left to let “nature take its course”.
Pat Anthony, who came across the seal when out with her young grandson during the holidays, said it was shocking that the authorities have decided not to act and says she has serious concerns about what could happen should a child go near it.
“The smell is horrendous and it’s been there rotting for weeks. The tide hasn’t been up high enough to wash it out to sea, so goodness knows how long it will take until it does.”
She addded: “I saw a post on facebook about three weeks ago which said the seal had been there for a few weeks before that. It’s a big seal and the smell is horrendous. Visitors to the beach and the castle above have been faced by this awful smell.
“The beach has now been deserted as the smell is so bad. it’s not fair on the animal to be left lying like that and it’s certainly not fair to anyone visiting to have to put up with that smell.”
Mrs Anthony said she had tried to assist efforts by concerned local people to contact Fife Council and Fife Coast & Countryside Trust to have the seal removed but so far without success.
“We need this moved; what if a dog got to it. Goodness knows what visitors think when they come here and find this on our beach.”
However, a statement issued to the Citizen this morning (Tuesday) confirmed it would not be moved.
A spokesperson for Fife Council and Fife Coast & Countryside Trust said: “All agencies involved in the running of the Castle Sands area including the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and Fife Council are aware that a dead seal has been washed up near the rocks due to a particularly high tide.
“Generally, with a natural phenomenon such as this, the carcass will be washed back out to sea. If that doesn’t occur marine research or veterinary services will be contacted to remove dead sea animals for research purposes, or it can be removed by Fife Council.
“There have been several options for removal considered. However, because of the location of the animal, vehicular access issues and Health & Safety concerns, it has not been possible to do that and on this occasion we will have to allow nature to take its course.”