During the months of May and June, as people in the Northeast start to head off shore and to the beach, NOAA Fisheries is issuing a reminder that this is also the time of year when seals frequent the shoreline, stressing: for the protection of people, pets and seals, keeping a safe distance is wise.
“Since harbor seals tend to use rocky islands, ledges or sandy beaches to give birth or just rest, chances of encountering a seal is greater this time of year, so it is really important that you don’t approach, handle or feed them,” Mendy Garron, marine mammal stranding coordinator for the Northeast Region of NOAA Fisheries Service, said in a press release. “Even though they look cute, it's a good idea to give these animals some space, respecting nature and the law."
A disturbed seal can bite and even transmit diseases like distemper virus or rabies to humans and pets. In other instances, a disturbed seal may abandon its pup to flee an approaching human or dog. If this happens and the pup is nursing, it will not survive.