By Rachael Grealish
Whitehaven Maria has asked people to keep their distance from the town’s latest wildlife visitor, Stella the Seal.
The furry visitor to the town is a seal that has been fondly named ‘Stella’, however, as many flock to see the new resident people are being warned of the dangers they pose getting too close.
In a social media post, Whitehaven Marina asked visitors to the harbour to ‘refrain from trying to get close to her’ reminding people it is ‘against the law to touch, feed or otherwise harass seals’.
The organisation said: “As most of you are aware we have a returning visitor here in Whitehaven Marina, Stella the seal. She has became quite an attraction over the last few weeks which is causing concern to many.
“Please can we kindly ask that you refrain from trying to get close to her, keep a wide distance if you do spot her in the water or surrounding areas. She comes in and out for a good feed and certainly knows her way around. She is a lovely addition who must feel safe here so we would like to keep it that way.”
It was explained in the post:
- It is against the law to touch, feed or otherwise harass seals.
- A healthy seal should be left alone. Do not approach a seal or allow children or dogs near it. Seals are wild animals
- After stormy weather and/or high tides, seals will haul out on the beaches to rest and regain their strength.
- Observing from too near a distance can discourage the seal from returning- keep pets away from the area. Dogs can cause injury to Marina mammals and disease can be passed between the species.
- Harbour seals are rather solitary animals. Mothers and pups will hang out together, but otherwise, Harbour seals like being alone. They haul out in groups, but they don’t socialise with each other.
Whitehaven Marina also reassured people that Stella is quite safe to eat the fish she catches in the harbour, saying: “In regards to the concern of the quality of the fish and if it is safe for her to eat here due to the water being discoloured in Queens marina, we have been assured through tests and their results there is nothing present in the water that can cause any harm to wildlife.”