When faced with adorable animals, the impulse for many is to whip out the camera and capture the moment. But a new piece of advice from NOAA warns against getting too close, referring to the rise of the seal selfie.
The organization cautions that, rather than heading over to that cute seal pup to get the perfect photo, it’s crucial to stay at least 50 meters away: to get much closer could put both you, and the seal, in danger.
Approaching a wild animal beyond its point of comfort can be both stressful and threatening for it, causing it to act unpredictably. Seals have powerful jaws, which could leave you with more than a selfie as a souvenir.
However getting too close to a seal pup can have even more devastating consequences. Often, the mother will leave her pup alone on the beach while she feeds. She may not be visible, but if she sees you near to her baby she may feel threatened and abandon her pup, thinking it’s not safe to return.
If this wasn’t enough, approaching a wild animal can be considered harassment – an illegal activity. So step away from the seal, put down the selfie stick and stay on the right side of the law next time the opportunity for a seal selfie comes up!