BOSTON (AP) — Heavy surf has brought many young seals to New England shores in recent days, and scientists say it's important for people to leave the animals alone.
The New England Aquarium says the seals encountered lots of people walking on beaches on Saturday and Sunday, and many of the beachgoers got too close to the animals. The aquarium says encounters with humans are likely to stress out the young animals during a vulnerable time.
" A lot of people are taking pictures way too close in terms of taking selfies," said Tony LaCasse, a spokesperson with the New England Aquarium, " this kind of animal...it's actually detrimental to the health of the animal."
LaCasse said that while people are well meaning but they are way too close — unsure if these animals need help.
"These pups when they are in their first year of life they are really venerable they gotta learn how to hunt. They are on the precipice of survival and if we deny them the good rest that they need we know just by scientific studies that when people are in close proximity, their stress levels will skyrocket through the roof and also that denial of sleep will also make them vuneralble to disease that are onboard," he said.
Thousands of newly weaned grey seal pups and yearling harp seals come to New England shores in the late winter. The aquarium says the animals might look like they're in danger, but the vast majority time they are perfectly fine and need people to say away.
"This is completely a normal behavior," LaCasse said
The New England Aquarium's Marine Animal Hotline is 617-973-5247 if the animal needs help.
(Photo: Getty Images)