Stay clear of seals in summer

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Picture: Nick Talbot

Picture: Nick Talbot

BEACHGOERS are reminded to keep their distance from seals resting on beaches in Western Port and Port Phillip bays beaches.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning manager program manager Suraya VI said some seals may appear sick or emaciated, but should not be approached under any circumstances.

“While we understand that seeing a seal in poor condition may be upsetting, approaching the seal or trying to move it will cause an already stressed animal further distress,” she said.

“If people sighted seals or seal pups lying on the beach, leave them in peace and enjoy their presence from afar.

“We are really lucky to see marine mammals such as seals and dolphins so close up in their natural environment, but they are wild animals, and it’s up to us to give them the space they need.”

It is illegal to approach within 30 metres of a seal on land, and dogs are not permitted within 50 metres of a seal on land. At boat ramps or other man-made structures such as piers, people must stay at least five metres away from seals.

Anyone who finds an unwell seal should call the AGL marine response unit on 1300 245 678 or DELWP on 136 186.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 6 December 2016

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