An elephant seal moulting at Gonzales Beach is been harassed by the public. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

VIDEO: Feds urge public to stop harassing seal moulting on B.C. beach

Anyone caught harassing a marine mammal can face fines or criminal charges

The elephant seal moulting on a Victoria beach has been harassed by the public, say officials.

“Sadly, we have seen an unacceptable level of harassment and general disrespect around the seal on Gonzales Beach,” said Leri Davies, media relations for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Fishery officer Mandy Ludlow and Gonzales Group volunteer Kerri Ward were at Gonzales Beach today (May 3) to remind people of the very real dangers of getting close to the seal, and the large fines and penalties that could be involved if they do.

Some of the harassment the seal has had to endure is large crowds standing within a foot of it, people ignoring the barrier, and children taunting and yelling at it.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada noted one instance in particular in which children approached the seal too close and taunted the animal by flapping their arms and barking at it. When asked to stop by someone on scene the parents of the children turned aggressively on this person, says Fisheries and Oceans. Police were called twice on Tuesday for two different incidents of harassment.

Harassing a marine mammal is illegal and fines or criminal charges can be laid.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada are warning the public to stay clear of the seal and be respectful. Signs of distress in the seal include being up on her front flippers, gaping her mouth and vocalizing. The elephant seal may look slow and harmless, but it is capable of moving very quickly and could be dangerous if it feels threatened.

The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is monitoring the seal’s health daily.

RELATED: Elephant seal claims Gonzales Beach for its annual moulting


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Reel Reviews: A cure for anger

We say, “Purge it up, goofballs.”

Kelowna families honour the dead by releasing butterflies

The Nicholson matriarchs release 33 butterflies

Carr’s Landing Art Tour showcases local talent

14th annual tour in Lake Country July 28-29 and Aug. 4-5

The Okanagan Croatian Club all smiles after World Cup loss

They say winning second place brought Croatia to the world stage

East Shuswap Road wildfire’s fire line being controlled

Firefighters saved an eagle’s nest and eaglets while controlling fire lines

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Course veterans seize victory in Peach City Classic

The first place titles in this year’s triathlon belonged to returning competitors.

Vernon writers launch online workshop for teens, young adults

Storymakers’ Raise Your Voice workshop seeks to help women writers uncover and use voice

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

Your reviews: John Fogerty rocks the South Okanagan

Photos and reviews from fans in Penticton at John Fogerty’s concert in the SOEC

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Most Read