As if this strangest of summers could not get any more bizarre.
With Filey groaning beneath almost unprecedented visitor numbers, the crowds flocking to the coast are now causing disruption to wildlife. Incredibly, this includes the taking of ‘seal selfies’ and instances of flying drones over basking seals. These kind of disturbances can lead to mothers abandoning their pups after people come too close to the animals.
Speaking to the BBC, Filey-based Marine Conservation Society (MCS) volunteer Matt Barnes said: “Seals are very vulnerable to disturbance, which upsets their routine of feeding and digestion, increases their use of energy, raises their stress levels and means they are more likely to injure themselves.
“People are taking ‘seal selfies’, having uncontrolled dogs off the leads, drones, water craft and coastal explorers disturbing vital haul out sites,” he said.
The seal pupping season has started, the young, weaning pups and their mothers need space. If disturbed, the pups are often abandoned and have to fend for themselves. Visitors are asked to keep dogs on leads, keep away from the seals, do not make loud noises and do not fly drones over seal colonies.
Scarborough’s Sea Life Centre rescues up to thirty abandoned or injured seal pups every year. It costs £2,000 to look after just one seal pup for six weeks and get them fit for their release back into the wild, so the centre is extremely grateful to guests who continue to support their work.