People are stealing seal pups from the beach to help but are inadvertently contributing to their demise.
It’s normal to feel affectionate toward baby animals, but chances are if the creature is anything but a kitten or puppy, lives in the wild, and has never been handled by humans, you should leave the extent of your interaction to admiring it from afar.
Unfortunately, a surprisingly high number of humans lack this common sense. In result, at least five individuals have stolen baby seals away from their mothers at the beach and inadvertently contributed to the deaths of some.
AP reports that at least five times this season, well-meaning people have illegally picked up seal pups in Oregon and Washington. Apparently, the people thought the baby seals were abandoned or needed help. A minimum of two deaths resulted from the ignorance.
Michael Mistein, a spokesman with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries has stressed that it’s an ongoing issue along the entire West Coast. Though people think they’re doing the right thing, they’re causing more harm than good.
Last month, a woman picked a pup on a beach in Westport, Washington, and carried it back to her house in a shopping tote. When she arrived, the seal was unresponsive and lethargic, and eventually had to be put down by wildlife officials.
Then, another couple wandered across a seal pup on the beach in Garibaldi, Oregon, and wrapped the sea in a beach towel, tucked it into their car, and placed it in their shower at home because they feared the animal was abandoned. The seal was returned to the beach by wildlife officials but was discovered dead the next day. Kristin Wilkinson, a NOAA Fisheries regional stranding coordinator told the press that the couple received a written warning as a reprimand.
Seal pups aren’t the only wildlife to be interfered with by humans. Last year, a Canadian man and his son loaded a bison calf into their SUV at Yellowstone National Park because they thought it was abandoned and would die. Well, it did die, but only because it couldn’t reunite with his herd so wildlife officials euthanized it.
Basically, the moral of this article is that most animals are better off if people do not interfere and allow nature to run its course. Wilkinson states that “The best chance they have to survive is to stay wild.”
“If there’s one message I’m getting out, it’s if you see a seal on the beach, let him be. Often mom is coming back. And call the seal rescue group in your area so we can check it out.”
The same goes for taking selfies with wild creatures. Not only did tourists kill a baby dolphin by passing it around for selfies underneath a hot sun, an aggressive woman dragged a swan by its wing to capture a photo as a souvenir. Oh, and then she left it to die.
Humans, respect wildlife and please consider reeling in your destructive habits.
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