Pair of jet skiers harass 200 seals off Norfolk coast
- Credit: PA
Two jet skiers were seen harassing more than 200 seals off the Norfolk coast over the bank holiday weekend.
The pair were spotted on Monday, May 2, at Horsey Beach where they were hurtling past the seals while they were huddled together in order to keep warm as their new coats grow.
The Volunteer group, Friends of Horsey Seals, said many of the spooked seals stampeded into the sea and that 20 minutes after their first appearance, the jet skiers returned and went through the group of seals in the water.
A couple walking on the beach, who witnessed the incident, took photographs and sent them to the charity.
At this time of year grey seals come ashore to moult off their old worn-out coats.
Their metabolism slows down during the moult and they do not eat as much, staying out of the cold sea to retain body heat until their new coat has grown.
Sally Butler, a member of the Friends of Horsey Seals Rescue Team, said: “It is vitally important that they keep warm during this six-week process.
“Their condition will deteriorate if they are chased around and are forced to use excess energy.
“Forcing them into the sea at this time can be damaging to their overall health and impact their long-term chances of survival.
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“More importantly when the grey seal’s annual moult ends in the next few weeks, the common seal’s pupping season begins, and many heavily pregnant common seals will come ashore and rest among the grey seals.
“Disturbing them at this time risks them aborting their pups.”
Peter Ansell, chairman of Friends of Horsey Seals, added: “It is common sense that there should be a minimum distance that jet skiers can come to any beach not only to protect wildlife but also swimmers, especially children.
“Harassing the seals in this way was a dangerous and unacceptable thing to do."