Don't take selfies with seals basking in the sun, say nature guards

Baby seals should have plenty of rest when they're on shore, and people should not put the animals' lives in danger by harassing them, says the Nature Conservation Agency.

Despite annual campaigns by the agency urging not to come close to baby seals washed ashore from the sea, this spring social networks are once again aflutter with people intruding on the cute mammals, the agency says. 

"Everyone should think for themselves, whether it is worth to harass the baby seals to take a selfie," stresses Gunta Gabrāne, the deputy head of the agency. 

If the baby seals cannot have enough rest while basking in the sun, they may freeze to death, warns Gabrāne.

She says baby seals can appear on the sea shore up until late April when the birth-giving season finishes. 

Valdis Pilāts, an expert at the Nature Conservation Agency, says that the seals may have drifted to the Latvian shore from Estonia on blocks of ice. The gray seals often give birth on shore and the ice fields that surround Estonian islands. 

The arrival of some seals on the shore at Ventspils in recent days has attracted crowds of onlookers. Among their number (the onlookers, not the seals) was Ventspils mayor Aivars Lembergs who posed for the obligatory gurning portrait with acquatic mammal and posted the result to social media. He later said he was not aware of the signs erected by the municipality he heads entreating the population to leave the animals in peace.

People should abstain from touching the tiny things, as they may bite, and are urged to keep their dogs on a leash as fights can erupt. 

If you spot a baby seal that looks weak or as if it has been wounded, report it to the agency at 29198590.  

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