These Terrified Animals Are Throwing Themselves Off Cliffs To Escape Selfie-Hungry Tourists

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At the beginning of September, St. Mary's Island, a little island in the U.K. that doubles as a wildlife sanctuary, has entered the spotlight for a terrible reason. Local wildlife protection group, St. Mary’s Seal Watch (SMSW), published a video showing seals flinging themselves off cliffs to avoid intrusive tourists.

 

Source: St. Mary's Seal Watch

 

Harassed by visitors who keep getting too close to them for comfort, these poor seals keep intentionally throwing themselves from the rocks, often hurting themselves when they fall onto the hard ground, rather than finding the safety of the sea. Worryingly, it seems that people are approaching the seals to take photos and selfies, or even to try and play with and touch the wild animals.

 

Spokesperson Sally Bennett told The Dodo:

 

As part of our work, SMSW seal wardens record, collate and report on wildlife disturbances on St. Mary's Island Local Nature Reserve. Video clips are recorded not to name and shame the individuals, but to record what happens.

 

Source: St. Mary's Seal Watch

 

In the video posted by the association, several frightened seals fling themselves from the rocks, falling several meters and risking injury or even worse to escape over-curious humans. Over the last 70 days, there have been more than 1500 incidents recorded by SMSW. Over half of them involved humans. Bennett continued:

 

St. Mary's Island is a grey seal haul-out. A haul-out is a land base where seals return on a regular basis to carry out essential life functions such as breeding, digestion, restoration of energy and, during the spring and summer months, for their annual molt. Rest is essential for these young pups and the loss of an important ‘pit stop’ will have a serious impact on their well-being.

 

Source: St. Mary's Seal Watch

 

Among the many animals risking their health and their lives to get to safety are pups and pregnant females. For them, the consequences can be harrowing:

 

Pregnant females carry their pup in their bellies and rushing over rocks means bouncing on their pups, which can lead to medical complications that can be fatal for both mother and pup.

 

To avoid incidents like this and protect the wildlife living on the island, Sally Bennett is telling tourists who visit St. Mary's to stay out of restricted areas, which are there to protect both them and the animals around them.

 

 Source: St. Mary's Seal Watch

 

To follow the work of St. Mary’s Seal Watch, visit their website.

 

Watch SMSW's video below:

 

 

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