Frightened seals forced to jump off cliffs to escape from inconsiderate tourists

Jun 14, 2018
07:08 A.M.

The shocking video warned tourists about how their insensitive approach may lead the seals to take self-harming escape measures.


St. Mary's Seal Watch, or SMSW, a local group dedicated on protecting wildlife, shared a video showing the impact of interference of tourists into the natural routine of seals at St. Mary's Island.

The video showed a group of frightened juvenile grey seals flinging themselves off cliffs and crashing into the rocks below out of the fear of humans approaching them for selfies or just a closer look.

A spokesperson for SMSW, Sally Bennet, told The Dodo that the group intends to "record, collate, and report on wildlife disturbances on St. Mary's Island Local Nature Reserve" and they share video clips not to name and shame anyone but to record the issues of wildlife.


The group recorded around 1,574 incidents where the seals flung themselves off the cliffs in just 70 days. Shockingly, more than half of the incident was caused due to human encounters.

Bennet further informed that each time seals are scared off the cliff, it disturbs their daily routine and can have adverse effects on their health.

If such incidents occur repeatedly, the seals may seriously reduce their chances of remaining healthy or even surviving. "The chances of injury is high," she added.


In the uploaded video as well, the seals were seen jumping off the cliff after people completely ignored the advice to stay away from the animals.

At other times, it was also caused by a mere sound or sight of the people in the nearby lighthouse compound.

The source further suggested that grey seals are sensitive creatures and they tend to stampede toward the safety of the water at the slightest experience of fear. They do this even if they are stranded in high places.

In such cases, continuous crashing over jagged rocks can lead to stress, exhaustion, and further injuries. This will then affect their ability to swim and fish.

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