STOP WITH THE SELFIES: Dog walkers and smartphone photographers are disturbing nursing seals on Dublin’s Bull Island

Published by Ian Carey on

VIDEO: Taken earlier this month showing dog walker on Dublin’s Bull Island moving close to resting seals to take a picture and forcing the seals into the water. 

September 27th 2016

The incredible strand at Dublin’s Bull Island is a fantastic place to watch birds or get some air.

But environmental groups are this week asking members of the public to make a special effort not to disturb seals who may be nursing young at this time.

The video above shows an all too common occurrence where a member of the public is trying to take a picture of seals but ends up forcing them into the water.

If this kind of harassment happens regularly it can lead to seals abandoning their pups. That’s why it is critical that people and dogs keep away from resting seals at this time.

A spokesperson for the Irish Seal Sanctuary explains:

“Grey Seals who are residents of Dublin Bay and common around the Irish coast are breeding now and during this time are very vulnerable to disturbance. Female seals require quiet shore space and breeding beaches to give birth. Thereafter females nurse their pups ashore for about 3 weeks. This is a period of the seal lifecycle that can only happen on land and while fascinating to watch, the golden rule is to observe from a distance.

“Around the Irish coastline, this great wildlife spectacle is enjoyed and progresses undisturbed, however areas such as Bull Island are under increasing pressure from dogs and some walkers.

“It is a great tribute to sensitive walkers and dog walkers, who avoid disturbance and some colonies are known to survive close to human habitation. Nevertheless evidence suggests that it only takes a few disturbances to drive seals away.”

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Ian Carey

Ian is the editor of the Green News. He works as Communications Manger with the Irish Environmental Network.