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article imageNo selfies with seals: New England officials issue public warning

By Marcus Hondro     May 27, 2016 in Environment
If you're a beachgoer in New England then officials there want you to know that taking selfies with seals is not a good idea. It's never a good idea anywhere, they say, and to do so is to endanger the seal — and you.
On Thursday, the Greater Atlantic Region of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries released a statement about selfies and seals before the long weekend in New England. They said they are not a good idea and may lead seal pups to harm.
"It is normal for a mother seal to leave her young pup alone on the beach for up to 24 hours while she feeds," the statement reads. "You may not see the mother offshore, but if she sees you near her pup, she may not think it’s safe to come back.
"It might only take a few seconds for you to snap the photo," the statement adds. "But the mother may abandon her pup if she feels threatened. For the seal pup, the consequences can be devastating."
It is also not safe to take photographs with adult seals because seals can be unpredictable and may hurt you. There's been numerous incidents of humans being attacked by a seal.
Swimming alongside seals can likewise be dangerous, this chiefly because if that seal is being stalked by a shark the shark just might think you're a seal, too. Chomp chomp. The best idea is to just keep back from seals.
"Approaching a wild animal can be considered harassment...an illegal activity," the statement notes. "Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, harassment is defined as "any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance" which has the potential to injure or disturb a marine animal. This can be dangerous for the animal, but can be dangerous for you, too."
If you care for seals, the statement says, the best thing to do is keep your distance and leave them alone.
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