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article imageVideo: Scuba diver holds hands with a wild seal

By Elizabeth Batt     Aug 31, 2012 in Environment
While deep sea diving, English doctor Ben Burville, encountered this friendly grey seal off the coast of Northumberland. What followed was a simple interaction that takes the breath away.
There is an immediate air of innocence surrounding this video; it truly shows one of those rare and impromptu moments when the minds of man and beast meet on mutual ground in the wild. Unscripted, the encounter is ethereal and epitomizes the possibilities that exist between humans and animals.
"Time spent in the wild with nature, can calm the restless soul," says the film called 'Holding Hands,' and "sometimes holding hands," it explained, "can say more than words."
Just over one minute long, the video posted to YouTube by Burville is a priceless display of affection that does not need words. And every astonishing second of the footage speaks volumes as the front flippers of the seal grasp Burville's hand, and hold onto it.
Grey seals, scientific name: Halichoerus grypus, are commonly called Atlantic grey seals or Horsehead seals. "They are the largest breeding seals found in the UK," writes BBC Nature. The British coast, where they are protected, is home to half of the world's population of grey seals whose numbers have doubled since 1960.
But in Canada, these seals are hunted. It's difficult to fathom why, when video like this is captured. With its front flippers designed to grip like a human hand, the visual impact of such a brief encounter, leaves a powerful impression of what could be, if human and animal met mutually.
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