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

Qualicum Beach society goes to bat for insect eaters

Two bat houses built to monitor population in Heritage Forest

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Vehicle knocks out Parksville power pole

Traffic single lane heading southbound

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

175 evacuation orders lifted as floods recede in Grand Forks

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Most Read