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Shocking Footage Shows Seals Throwing Themselves Off Cliffs To Avoid Tourists

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Shocking Footage Shows Seals Throwing Themselves Off Cliffs To Avoid Tourists

Despite shows like Planet Earth pleading with the world to help preserve nature, it appears that some people don't realise that they need to keep their distance when observing animals in the wild.

That couldn't be more relevant on St Mary's Island, north of Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, where a group of seals have literally risked their lives to avoid tourists.

St Mary's Seal Watch (SMSW) has released footage of the shocking incident when the mammals are seen throwing themselves off cliffs and hitting the rocks below.

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Credit: St Mary's Seal Watch/SWNS

Plummeting that distance and landing on such a hard and abrasive surface can seriously injure the seals, with some potentially suffering broken or damaged flippers which leave them unable to swim.

A St Mary's Seal Watch spokesperson is issuing a warning to people who want to get up close and personal with the mammals, saying: "While many visitors, once aware are respectful of the animal's needs, there are those, whether through ignorance or intent, that are not.

"While we would always try to prevent occurrences such as these, without much more robust management of the site these incidents will happen too often.

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Seal plunging off cliff
Seal plunging off cliff

Credit: St Mary's Seal Watch/SWNS

"Nature Reserves are places where wildlife should be protected and undisturbed. If wildlife is not safe on a nature reserve where will it be?

"Disturbance is caused by the sight and sound of visitors. When disturbance happens on a rocky site like St. Mary's Island, the chance of injury is high. When it happens repeatedly it can reduce the animal's chances of remaining healthy or even their survival."

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It's not the first time the conservationists have had to issue a warning to people. Last year, after the seals were spotted frolicking in the water, SMSW released this message on its Facebook page: "St Mary's Island is the only grey seal haul out in this area. Seals need to haul out and rest as part of their natural cycle. Any disturbance to this increases their use of energy, raises their stress levels and means they are more likely to injure themselves.

St Mary's Island
St Mary's Island

Credit: Google Maps

"Repeat disturbance means the seals are less likely to return in the numbers we have seen recently."

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Please, keep your distance and observe nature from a distance so that others in the future can appreciate the same sight that you can witness today.

Featured Image Credit: St Mary’s Seal Watch​/SWNS​​

Topics: Seals, UK, tourism

Stewart Perrie
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