St Mary’s Seal Watch shared footage of people throwing rocks at a seal and forcing it to jump off a nearby cliff in the hope of raising awareness of problems wildlife face.
Three people were seen moving a sign at St Mary’s Island Nature Reserve in Newcastle on Saturday (June 9), then filming themselves as they threw rocks at one of the seals on the reserve.
Throwing rocks at the seal caused the animal to panic and become distressed. The seal made its way to the edge of the cliff and jumped in to avoid being hit.
The group then turned their attention to the other animals in the sanctuary.
St Mary’s Seal Watch shared footage of the event on Facebook, hoping to raise awareness for the horrible treatment the wildlife can face and mentioning that this was not the only instance of rocks being thrown at the seals.
Their post read:
This malicious act was carried out on St. Mary’s Island Nature Reserve and seen from the mainland on Saturday 9th June at around 9.00pm. We have had other visitors saying they have witnessed the same thing over this season.
This footage is not to name and shame the individuals but to highlight some of the problems the wildlife faces on the reserve and the stark contrast between the recent Springwatch clip of the island in all its majestic glory and the reality for most of the wildlife here which is subjected to repeated disturbance rarely finding the tranquillity shown in the beautiful Springwatch footage.
The post continued:
The behaviour in this clip is abhorrent, however the most prolific disturbance source to all the wildlife is those carrying out recreational activities on the wildlife sensitive areas of the island.
Without protection St. Mary’s Island Nature Reserve is no haven for the wildlife but a place where visitor pressure prevents any chance of the wildlife thriving.
We know that many visitors show respect and consideration when visiting this wildlife sensitive site and will themselves have seen too often the acts of a few spoil it not just for the animals but for all those responsible visitors as well.
They then went on to explain what can be done if you see similar acts occurring.
If you see people ignoring Council signs requesting visitors avoid the wildlife sensitive areas report it to staff in the Lighthouse.
If the Lighthouse is not open email [email protected]
If you see any activity of intentional harassment call 101 and report it.
If in doubt as to what you should do please contact St. Mary’s Seal Watch for advice.
If you believe more should be done to preserve the Nature Reserve and protect our local wildlife by those in authority, please write to a North Tyneside Councillor or local MP.
St Mary’s Seal Watch explained in another post that volunteers at the reserve ‘help visitors understand the importance of the site to each and every animal that calls it home’, and that if the reserve is not treated with respect it will drive wildlife away.
They advised visitors to give wildlife plenty of space and observe quietly from a distance.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]