Taking selfies with seals really isn’t a good idea, wildlife officials warn

seal selfie warning pup
David Tyrer/123RF
Seal pups. Awww, they look so cute, don’t they. Their innocent little faces and big round eyes, makes you want scurry up and grab a quick selfie, doesn’t it? Well, guess what – it’s not a good idea.

With the proliferation of smartphones and people’s seemingly irresistible urge to grab selfies at every opportunity, it’s no surprise that in recent times we’ve been hearing stories of reckless wildlife adventurers sidling up beside all manner of creatures, from bears to snakes to sharks. And no, it doesn’t always end well.

In an apparent effort to preempt any disastrous run-ins with the New England seal population during the current pupping season, the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) recently posted a warning on its website titled, “No selfies with seals.”

The message insists that “there is no selfie stick long enough” for capturing such a shot, adding that no matter how tempting it might be “to get that perfect shot of yourself or your child with an adorable seal pup, please do the right thing and leave the seal pup alone.”

The scientific agency, knowing all too well that some selfie fanatics would love nothing more than a cute photo with a cuddly pup, says that “getting too close to a wild animal puts you – and the animal – at risk.”

Conjuring up images of blood, screams, and emergency response teams, NOAA warns that “seals have powerful jaws, and can leave a lasting impression.” In more ways than one.

The agency says it’s already received several reports of unfortunate incidents resulting in injuries as a result of humans “getting too close to an animal during a quick photo op,” adding, “When you get too close to a wild animal, you risk stressing or threatening it, and stressed animals are much more likely to act unpredictably.”

It warns that getting too close to a pup could cause its mother to abandon it, and advises people to stay at least 150 feet (46 meters) from any seal they see.

Of course, the absolute worst thing you could do would be to handle the animal while framing up that perfect selfie, but you already knew that … didn’t you?


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