Police Protect Dying Seal from Onlookers Throwing Stones: ‘Thoughtless Humans’

by Matthew Memrick

Police attempts to keep ‘thoughtless humans’ from throwing stones at a dying seal have been useless recently at one English beach. 

A Wildlife Crime and Rural Officer tried to keep people at a Norfolk, England beach away from an old dying seal, but one official said, “It’s absolutely exacerbating.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took video of the animal and shared images of the crowd as onlookers approached, touched, and threw stones at the seal.

The wildlife agency told LBC that the crowd gathered on Great Yarmouth beach in eastern England. It also said the old seal is not injured but weak and will soon die.

Seal groups and police are watching the animal and are considering a few options, including euthanasia.

“We are respectfully asking people to stay away,” the RSPCA tweeted.

People Won’t Leave Seal Alone

LBC reported that several visitors had ignored the request. The RSPCA said that the rise of “staycations” at the beach area draws people to the seal.

One officer said the stone-throwing might have been attempting to get the beached animal to move, but some people got within a foot of the seal.

RSPCA officials said they could not commit to euthanizing the animal until crowds had left the site.

People Warned To Stay Away From Seals

The wildlife agency had previously warned beachgoers to stay away from other seal pups in the area earlier in the week.

Officials asked people to stay over 30 feet away from the animals. Some were sick, and officials requested that people not move them back into the ocean.

The agency identified some of the seal pups as newborn whitecoat pups and asked people not to put them back in the ocean. These creatures cannot swim in the first 3-4 weeks of their lives because their fur is not waterproof yet.

Social Media Chides Beach People

Twitter users couldn’t understand why people had to get so close to the seals. Some called them idiots, while others couldn’t understand the need to throw stones.

Another Twitter user had a different experience, saying she was at the scene on Sunday. The person said everyone was seemingly respectful of the animal while waiting for the British Divers Marine Life Rescuers to arrive.

Folks can’t seem to leave seals alone in the Norfolk area.

In 2019, the BBC reported three seal pup deaths due to beachgoer interference in the same area. One seal died after two young children chased it into the water and drowned. In that case, the children’s mother let the children go after it. Another pup died after its mother abandoned it for fear of the people surrounding it. A third died in a dog attack.

A similar incident happened in 2018. The BBC said four grey seal pups died, and officials said they were scared to death. Authorities estimated the animals were two weeks old and still depended on their mother for food.