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

B.C. Green Party pushes for wild salmon commissioner

The role would serve as a unifying force in the provincial government

BC Ferries confirms Northern Sea Wolf will not sail until mid-July

BC Ferries had hoped to get the vessel in September of last year, but it didn’t arrive until December

UPDATED: Horgan says B.C. defending its interests in Trans Mountain pipeline

Canadian finance minister’s update comes the same day Kinder Morgan shareholders plan to meet

5 things to know about B.C. Floods 2018

Snowpacks continue to melt causing thousands to be displaced, dozens of local states of emergency

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Transportation Minister disappointed by BC Ferries plan to remove fuel rebates

Claire Trevena says she is ‘extremely disappointed’ by a plan by BC Ferries to remove fuel rebates

B.C. sues Alberta over bill that could ‘turn oil taps off’

Lawsuit is the latest move in the two provinces’ ongoing feud over the Kinder Morgan pipeline

Liberal government introduces measures to update Canada’s family laws

Justice officials say there have not been substantial updates to federal family laws in 20 years

B.C. mom threatens legal action against sunscreen company

Caleb Jordan, 6, was covered in blisters 20 minutes after using Banana Boat sunscreen

BC Games Society president to step down

Kelly Mann says it’s time for a change after 26 years with the society

B.C. politicians framed by anonymous sticky-note doodler

Insider has been posting caricatures from the B.C. legislature to social media

27 years since initial police probe, polygamist leader to be sentenced in June

Prosecutor recommend up to 6 months jail, defence asks for conditional or absolute discharge

Governments kick in cash for B.C. farmers, food processors

Ottawa, Victoria contribute $14 million over five years to help develop new products, processes

Most Read