I’m in love with this video and I am passing it along because it is precious, NOT to encourage anyone to interact similarly with an elephant seal. Thank you to @simplyhealthy !
NOTE: Do NOT try this at home. Read the comments below.
Here are some of the comments regarding the video when it was posted at Huffington Post
“..There’s very good reason for the laws which insist upon distances from protected marine mammals. I work in wildlife rehab, and it’s not just human safety which is significant with these large animals. Habituated wildlife is wildlife destined for harmful encounters with humans. The worst thing that can happen to a wild animal is for it to become friendly with humans who will, eventually, harm the animals. Or, the animal becomes “friendly” and harms a human then has to be destroyed. Beyond those two sound reasons, harassment of marine mammals is illegal because it disrupts on so many levels. I’ve seen ignorant tourists chase tired, resting sea lions back into the ocean from their haul out spots. I’ve seen people throw things at wild animals. There is good reason for these laws and us “whiners” who work with and deal with the repercussions of injured wildlife understand this intimately.”
“Elephant seals are connected to us, yes. We have an evolutionary connection. But it’s CRITICAL that you and everyone else educates themselves about the cuddly critters they’d like to hug. Consider the effect of that ‘hug’:
*wild animal doesn’t want to be hugged. elephant seals are powerful and can kill you if they wish.
*possible transmission of bacteria and viruses from human to animal or – animal to human which could devastate an entire population.
Please RESPECT wild animals. Don’t wish on them human characteristics. Look at them realistically and give them a wide berth.” debramj
“I agree this video could inspire somebody to do something really foolish …. Seals can move very quickly on land when they wan’t too and they’re not always friendly. I almost got bitten by one while taking pictures at the seal colony at Cape Pallister in New Zealand ..”
“She’s lucky the elephant seal isn’t aware of how the human race treats seals and their habitats.” – DrPaulProteus
“That woman was lucky. Elephant seals can give vicious bites and their sheer weight could kill you. This was probably a yearling…no mom, but if this was breeding season, the adult male would consider the woman an intruder and would attempt to kill her either by biting or crushing. Many infant seal are killed (by crushing) by maurading males attempting to mate…Also don’t touch marine mammals they can get sick from you …”
“We have Elephant Seals in California, on the central coast. When people get close there is usually a terrible injury to the human. This is cute, but don’t try it she was very lucky.”
“Seals are some of the most unpredictable mammals: violence can erupt at any moment. Yeah, I know it’s cute, but this is definitely not the kind of human behaviour you want to encourage.”
“I suspect the video got pulled because what goes on in the video violated British ( South Georgia is UK territory ) mammal protection laws ( what she did will also get you in trouble here in the US ) and the tour operator will get into trouble.”
“But most importantly seals are not warm and cuddly critters by nature snuggling up to one is about as smart as getting cozy with a bear or any other larger predator its dangerous. And direct human contact can also make the animal sick …”
” In the United States there are Federal laws requiring a certain distance be maintained from all marine mammals. “