I witnessed an alarming sight on a Lavallette beach this past weekend.

It is no secret that Carolina (my dog) and I are beachaholics and we do not plan on seeking treatment.

So we made multiple trips to enjoy the sand and the beautiful weather. What did we find? A SEAL RESTING ON SHORE.

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I only saw him from afar but I swear, he looked like a furry dog with flippers.

However, the problem started once word travelled that a seal was resting on shore.

People started coming onto the beach in loads to take a look at the seal.

And listen, part of me gets it. Our options are limited because of COVID-19 so when you hear of excitement, the natural reaction is to want to go see it.

But by midday, the seal was consistently surrounded by groups of people and their dogs who were all getting extremely close -- like only 2 ft. to 3 ft. away.

As a result, the cops were called.

They rolled up in their car and used their megaphone to get the crowds AWAY from the seal. They even stood guard for a bit because people were just that persistent.

It's insane because the public has been told of this before.

So now, I feel the need to remind you all.

If you see a seal on the beach, they are there for one of two reasons:

1. The seal is resting from swimming.

2. The seal is injured.

In either of those situations, being pestered by you and your family, friends and/or dog is NOT what the seal needs.

Animal experts say that you should stay AT LEAST 100 ft. to 150 ft. away from a seal that is resting on the shore. It is not just for the seal, but your safety as well.

"Do not approach a seal, or allow children or dogs near it. Seals are wild animals and although they look cute, they will defend themselves aggressively if necessary," according to BDMLR.org.

This is written as a caption to a video of a seal being relocated because of crowds on Marine Mammal Stranding Center's website:

"On the morning of March 15, 2021 we received a call for another healthy seal that we had to relocate due to people getting way too close to her as she was resting on the beach. This is the seventh seal that we have had to relocate this season for this reason.We are imploring everyone to PLEASE give the seals a break by staying at least 150 feet away from them, keep your dogs leashed on the beach and never post the location of a seal on social media."

Also from MMSC.org:

"Seals are protected by both state and federal laws - therefore, it is illegal to approach and/or touch a seal. Most seals come onto the shore just to rest, and if you approach them, they may get scared and return to the sea before they are ready. If an injured seal returns to the water, they will not get the care they need."

 

If you do spot a seal, check him out from a distance to see if there are any marks or scars that would indicate that the seal is injured.

Either way, you should call your local town's police department or the Marine Mammal Stranding Center at (609) 266-0538 to report all sightings.

I want to thank Nancy, Gertrude and the other people who I met on the beach that were on the same page as me --> To leave the wildlife alone!!

Please, please, please don't get so close to wildlife. You can get hurt. The animal could get hurt. Just watch from afar and call an expert.

Take a look for more information on this topic at MMSC.org. Happy Almost Summer!

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