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New England, Back Away From The Seal Pups

A young harbor seal lounges on top of seaweed near Cundy's Harbor, Maine, in 2000. As pupping season and Memorial Day weekend collide, New Englanders are being asked to stay away from seals.
Pat Wellenbach
/
AP
A young harbor seal lounges on top of seaweed near Cundy's Harbor, Maine, in 2000. As pupping season and Memorial Day weekend collide, New Englanders are being asked to stay away from seals.

Attention, New Englanders: You may see a seal pup on the beach this weekend, and you may be tempted to take a selfie with it. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is asking that you please resist that urge.

There will be more babies about because it's pupping season in the region, but it's not good for you or the seal to get too close, says the Greater Atlantic Region of the NOAA Fisheries. You might get bitten, a statement from the group said on Thursday, and if the mom sees you cozying up to her pup, she might not come back for it.

"It might only take a few seconds for you to snap the photo, but the mother may abandon her pup if she feels threatened," the group said. "For the seal pup, the consequences can be devastating."

NOAA rescued seven endangered Hawaiian monk seal pups that had been abandoned or malnourished last year, as The Associated Press reported. The pups have been rehabilitated and were released back to the wild this spring.

The agency recommends staying at least 150 feet away from seals — that's farther than a selfie stick, people.

We'll note that selfies taken by seals themselves are allowed under certain circumstances. For example, Milo here is a pro:

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Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for NPR.org and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.

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