Sorry to bring such sad news, but no more taking selfies with seals. As much as we adore the cute creatures, getting too close to them can not only disrupt the colonies but also harm us. It’s time to leave your selfie stick at home because you won’t be needing it.
In a post on the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) website, officials ask beachgoers not to take selfies with the animals.
A number of injuries as the result of getting too close to the seals was reported. And it was all during “photo shoots” with the animals. When humans get into the seals’ environment, they are perceived as a threat. Especially if there are protective parents around who look after the pups. Seals, as harmless as they seem, have powerful jaws. Don’t underestimate the nature of wildlife, as adorable as it may look.
As a rule, people should stay at least 150 feet (50 yards) from the seals.
Officials also warn visitors not to act as heroes. If you spot a seal pup which looks abandoned, leave it alone. Pups are left alone by their mom for up to 24 hours. There is no need for humans to try finding their parents because they will return on their own.
In fact, if a seal mother sees people near the pup, she will attack. In some cases, she might even abandon the baby, which is the quite the opposite of what you were trying to achieve.
“The best thing you can do if you want to help is keep away from the animal and keep your pets away from it, so the mother has a chance to return,” says the marine mammal stranding program coordinator, Mendy Garron, of NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region.
Approaching a seal, or any wildlife for that matter, is considered harassment under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. This means “any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance”. It is an illegal activity, and you will pay the price. Keep yourself at a 150 feet distance from the seals to avoid any harm. This also means no more taking selfies with seals.
If you see an animal in danger, the best thing to do is call for specialized help.
IMAGE SOURCE: Wikipedia