Posted: 24.03.21 at 15:00 by Ellie Brown
Teddington residents have paid tribute to Freddie the seal after he was tragically put down on Monday evening.
The ten-month-old grey harbour seal was attacked by a dog at Hammersmith Bridge on Sunday and vets euthanised him on Monday evening due to the severity of his injuries.
Freddie was well-known to Teddington residents as a regular at the lock over the past couple of months, endearing himself to many with his friendliness.
Last month he had to be rescued from the lock after a fishing lure became stuck in his mouth.
The rescue revealed more details about his extraordinary life, including his name 'Freddie Mercury' and origin as a pup at a seal sanctuary in the Netherlands.
Adorable videos of Freddie's time at the sanctuary can be found on their YouTube channel HERE
Wildlife photographer Sue Lindenberg took many photos of Freddie when he was in Teddington, and alerted the RSPCA when she saw the hook stuck in his mouth.
She gave the following tribute to the pup.
"Yesterday when I heard the news that Freddie Mercury had been savagely attacked by a dog, and had to be put to sleep I was absolutely heartbroken, and I know I am not alone.
"Freddie, a charming and plucky little seal pup delighted so many of us in February while he was a resident in and around Teddington Lock.
"His successful rescue by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue was watched by many of his followers, and really lifted our spirits.
"This news is so tragic. RIP little Freddie Mercury."
Teddington resident Barry French also photographed Freddie when he came by the lock.
He highlighted the role Freddie played in bringing joy to many residents during the pandemic.
"Winter seemed particularly bleak this year, what with the government restrictions," he said.
"Freddie was our motivation for cycling down the Thames, even on the coldest of days, as we hoped to see just a glimpse of him.
"He brought a rare moments of joy in during a dark and tumultuous time.
"Sightings were infrequent, so it was a noteworthy event when we saw him lolling on the ramp or spotted their head bobbing above the surface.
"They always seemed quite content and happy, enjoying London life.
"We cycled a few miles we wouldn’t have done otherwise because of Freddie, that’s for sure.
"I just hope the dog owner has the courage to step forwards and do the right thing.
"Freddie was quite the character and a real conversation starter near the lock.
"He was a beautiful creature and I am genuinely saddened by his needless death."
For more information on Freddie's early days at the sanctuary visit their website HERE