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

PHOTOS: Falcons win opener at lakecity provincials

Schedule included inside for AAA, AA and Tier 2 divisions

Tell own story of wildfires at new writing worshop

The Community Arts Council of Williams Lake invites you to our upcoming… Continue reading

Raffle winners

Bonner family wins Williams Lake Sportsmen’s Association’s table raffle

Vehicle fire sends plume of smoke into the air in Williams Lake

Dune buggy catches fire after a loud “bang”

Two small holdover fires discovered near Riske Creek

Two wildfires discovered Wednesday in the Cariboo are listed as being out of control

Vancouver Island girl scores with winning song for BC Summer Games

‘Colours’ is a perfect theme for 2018 BC Summer Games

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

B.C. mom who died just before daughter’s wedding wanted family to be happy: twin

Ann Wittenberg was pulled into the ocean while on a surf board in Tofino last weekend

Courtenay-Alberni MP calls for lifeguards at popular surf spot near Tofino

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is defending its decision to cancel the surf guard program.

Harvey Weinstein to surrender in sex misconduct probe: officials

Would be first criminal charge against Weinstein since scores of women came forward

Media are not an arm of the police, Vice lawyer tells Supreme Court hearing

Ben Makuch challenges Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that he must give materials for stories to RCMP

B.C. launches plan to tackle doctor shortage, emergency room congestion

John Horgan aims to set up regional primary care networks in a ‘team-based’ approach

Vancouver, Squamish pipeline challenges dismissed by court in B.C.

Justice Christopher Grauer ruled the province’s decision to issue the certificate was reasonable

Early learning programs for Indigenous kids get $30M boost

B.C. government to help expand Aboriginal Head Start Association programs with three-year funding

Most Read