RSPCA calls for people to stop taking selfies with hurt seal on Hayling Island as a cordon is set up to protect the animal
A WOUNDED seal stranded on a beach has had a cordon placed around it to protect it from selfie-seeking walkers trying to snap pictures of the injured animal.
The wounded mammal has been recovering at a beach on Hayling Island but has been pestered by curious residents.
Coastguards have now set up the barrier to keep people back in an effort to prevent the seal suffering further distress as it heals.
The situation has prompted an urgent plea from rescuers at the animal welfare charity, the RSPCA.
Rescuer Katie Wood has urged people to show the wild creature ‘kindness and respect’.
She said: ‘I’ve been out on the beach during the past few days, mostly to try and stop people coming too close to take selfies, or trying to mistakenly move the seal back into the sea. I’ve sadly also seen people allowing their dogs to run up to the seal which causes distress.
‘This seal needs time and space to rest, as hauling itself out of the water onto the beach takes energy, so the coast guard has cordoned off the area around the seal to try and make sure people stay back and give the chance needed to recover. I'd appeal to people to keep at least 20 metres away to give the seal space.
‘Seals are also incredibly strong and powerful wild animals and can have a very nasty bite which can cause horrible wounds and could become infected by the bacteria that live in a seal’s mouth so we’d urge people to stay back for their own safety too.’
She added a vet had examined the seal, who determined the animal had a slight injury to its neck but was ‘healthy enough’ to recover on the beach.