“Really stupid” visitors were threatened with getting too close to pregnant seals in Norfolk.
Visitors to Horsey Beach are asked to stay at least 50 meters away from the seals that live on the sand.
But despite the warnings, nature lovers have been shown getting close to animals for pictures today.
Some even stood with seals on their phones to make their children smile.
The local volunteer group Friends of Horse Sales called it “really stupid to go anywhere near them.”
Sally Butler, a member of the group, said. BBCAdult women are now very pregnant and will start giving birth.
“Also, men are full of enough testosterone and you can see them fighting on the water’s edge, so it’s really stupid to go anywhere near them.
“It’s incredible for people to put their children in this situation.”
Signs have been put in place and the group has an ad hoc warden system, before the beach is cleared at the end of October when the gray cell popping season begins.
Peter Ansel, chairman of Friends of Horse Sales, said the beach has received more visitors this year than usual.
He felt that this was partly due to the low number of people going on foreign holidays due to travel restrictions.
“It’s been a lot busier than any other summer I can remember, to be honest,” he said.
He said of the seals: “People will not realize they are wild animals, they are dangerous, they can bite severely, they can certainly injure a child in a really critical way.”
Seals come ashore to rest, he said, adding: “If they get upset they go back to sea and can be too weak to fight the current, get washed away and drown. Go
Justin Millard, a volunteer at the Marine Conservation Society and head of community engagement, says: Stay at least 50 meters away from other wild animals
“If people get too close, it can put pressure on the seals.
“Please admire them from afar, and let’s make sure these cute animals feel comfortable enough to visit our local beaches.”
Jeff Edmund, National Wildlife Coordinator at RSPCA, said: “We want people to enjoy watching our marine wildlife, but it must be done at a safe and sensible distance without disturbing the animals.
“Every year, RSPCA wildlife centers have to treat and rehabilitate a wide range of wildlife – including seals and seabirds – that have been injured or orphaned by human distress.
“For example, in a particularly shocking incident, members of the public had to be surrounded and stopped for trying to take a selfie and disturbing an injured seal recovering on the beach.
“If people have concerns about an animal, keep your distance and contact the RSPCA Helpline on 0300 1234 999.”
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