Family slammed for 'harassing' seal at popular Aussie beach

Chloe said the group followed the seal for more than 30 minutes as it actively tried to get away from them.

An Aussie woman has filmed the moment she was forced to call out a family for “harassing” wildlife on a popular beach over the weekend.

Chloe told Yahoo News she was walking her dog on Semaphore Beach in Adelaide on Sunday when she saw a family, including young children, standing on rocks just metres away from a seal, which are known to inhabit the area.

A family standing on the rocks just metres from a seal at  Semaphore Beach in Adelaide on Sunday.
Chloe said she was walking her dog on Semaphore Beach in Adelaide on Sunday when she saw a tourist family 'harassing' a seal. Source: Supplied

Footage shows a woman walk towards the animal — which appears to be trying to move away from them — while snapping a series of photos. In a second video clip, Chloe is seen confronting the family and urges them to get down off the rocks.

“You guys aren’t actually allowed up there and you're stressing the sea lion,” she shouts. “That’s why he moved away from you. Do you want to hop down from there?”

When the woman replies that they’re “fine”, Chloe insists they’re “stressing him out” and the seal may chase them as a result. When they refuse to budge, the dog owner vows to call the council because people “are not allowed up there”.

“There’s giant signs,” Chloe continues, pointing at a large notice posted nearby.

Left, the family on the rocks with the seal. Right, Chloe pointing to a sign warning them not to approach seals.
Chloe said the family refused to move, despite her pointing out a sign warning them not to climb onto the rocks. Source: Supplied

Family 'wouldn't leave seal alone'

In a post on a community Facebook page, the Adelaide resident said the family followed the seal and “wouldn’t leave it alone for over half an hour”. “They were so close to it as well,” Chloe added, claiming the City of Charles Sturt Council told her “it’s not their job and so did the lifeguards”.

Locals agreed the sign “advising that no one is to climb on the rocks” is pretty obvious.

“It’s these people that ruin it for everyone else. It will scare the seals from those rocks. I love going there to see them and so do my kids, we always watch from afar,” one person said.

“They will learn when it attacks them,” another added.

Approaching seal 'worst thing you can do'

Jools Farrell from ORRCA, a marine mammal rescue and conservation group in Australia, previously told Yahoo News Australia seals can become aggressive if people stand between them and the open water.

“You never stand between a seal and the ocean because that’s their escape route,” she said. “It can make them feel threatened and they will attack.”

Ms Farrell said what most people don’t understand is that seals are wild animals. “People see them in zoos, they see them in aquariums where they’re taught to sit, they're taught to be patted,” she said.

“People then see them in the wild and feel they can take a selfie, pat it, or feed it and that’s the worst thing you can do.”

People must not be closer than 30 metres to a seal

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment and Water told Yahoo News on Tuesday that “under the National Parks and Wildlife Regulations, a person must not move closer than 30 metres to a seal or sea lion, whether the animal is on land or in water”.

“This extends to 50 metres if the animal shows signs of disturbance, appears sick or injured or is stranded or entangled,” they added.

Anyone who sees such an incident is encouraged to report it to their nearest National Parks and Wildlife Service SA office.

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