Terrified seals have been seen leaping off cliffs in Cornwall in a desperate bid to avoid tourists getting too close to them.
Shocking videos show seals plummeting from rocky ledges into the sea, often injuring themselves on the way down.
Other footage captured a seal stampede sparked by a sightseers’ drone, while one animal was spotted trying to escape from a dog after it was left off the lead.
Shocking videos show seals plummeting from rocky ledges into the sea, often injuring themselves on the way down
The footage was taken in Cornwall and released by the Seal Protection Action Group and Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust
A sharp rise in the number of incidents like this has led to a report called ‘Do not disturb! The growing threat to our seals’.
The report – published by the Seal Protection Action Group and Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust – claims seals are often disturbed by motorised vessels, jet-skis, kayaks, paddle-boarders, wildlife watching tours on land or sea, as well as anglers and walkers,
People trying to feed seals is also of growing concern.
Andy Ottaway, from the action group, said seals already face enough threat from habitat issues and over-fishing of the waters, and need to be left alone.
‘Our seals are under increasing threat from deliberate killing, climate change, over-fishing, toxic pollution, entanglement in nets, ingestion of plastic and serious injury from collisions with vessels,’ he said.
‘We need to give all our precious marine wildlife, including seals, more space.
‘The cumulative impact of all these threats, along with these growing disturbance issues, is placing these wonderful animals at serious risk.’
A sharp rise in the number of incidents like this has led to a report called ‘Do not disturb! The growing threat to our seals’
In this video, a seal jumps off a ledge and hits into rocks at the bottom, risking a serious injury
The seal lying on a rocky beach after falling from the cliff. The Seal Protection Group hope the footage will encourage tourists to behave more carefully around the animals
A large group of seals leap off cliffs into the sea after being startled, possibly by passing walkers
As the summer holidays begin, millions of visitors flock to the coast and overcrowding adds pressure to marine wildlife, including seals.
The report highlights the growing, harmful impact that human activity can have on such wildlife.
It also documents case studies around the British coast where protected seal populations are suffering chronic disturbances from human activities.
The charities say that such activities can cause serious injury and have potentially fatal consequences.
The report catalogues serious incidents in the South-west of England; North-west Wales; North-east England and North-east Scotland at sites of critical importance.
The researchers found evidence that the seal population is suffering from human intrusion through recreational activities.
This photo shows one Cornish seal trying to escape from a dog after it was left off the lead
Other footage released to MailOnline shows a seal stampede sparked by a sightseer’s drone
Startled seals rush to the water after becoming frightened of the noise of a helicopter overhead
Another group of seals make a headlong rush into the water after being spooked
The report warns that repeated disturbance can cause serious harm to individual animals, through stress and even serious injury.
Disturbance can also impact at a local and national population level by reducing breeding success, abandonment of dependent pups and even premature death.
Sue Sayer, from the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust, said: ‘Many communities benefit financially from tourism and the kind of reliable wildlife watching that seals provide.
‘However, we need to take care and must reduce already high levels of disturbance, and soon, or those environmental, social and economic benefits could soon disappear along with our seals.’
An injured seal lying on a beach. It is unclear exactly how the animal sustained its wounds
Campaigners say members of the public should not be getting close to seals, like in this image
A seal dives from a rock into the sea after being approached by a sightseer in a kayak
Netflix is accused of ‘eco-tragedy porn’ in Attenborough film featuring walruses falling to their deaths ‘because of climate change’ after zoologist claims they were being CHASED by polar bears
Walruses seen falling to their deaths as they scaled high cliffs to escape climate change could have died because they were being chased by polar bears, a zoologist claimed.
Footage from Sir David Attenborough’s Netflix documentary Our Planet – which was released in April – showed walruses plunging off 250ft high cliffs in northeast Russia.
The animals were said to be making the dangerous climb to higher ground to escape receding sea ice due to warming seas.
Hundreds of walruses became confused by a combination of shrinking ice cover and their own poor eyesight, causing them to scale cliffs and often plummet to their deaths when they attempt to return to sea, the show stated.
In the disturbing clip, walruses could be seen perched precariously on the edge of the rocky cliffs, unaware of just how high up they were.
It’s not the first time a David Attenborough-narrated programme has been faced accusations of faking dramatic wildlife footage.
In 2011 Frozen Planet admitted after the show aired that filmmakers used footage of cubs taken at a zoo using fake snow in the Netherlands and spliced it with polar bear clips from the wild.
Footage from Sir David Attenborough’s Netflix documentary Our Planet – which was released in April – showed walruses plunging off 250ft high cliffs in northeast Russia