Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Home alone: Rare baby seal makes splash on local beach (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

A baby from an endangered species of seal has made a public beach in western Russia his home. With their low numbers and fear of humans making them a rare sight, this pup seems to think the local people are part of his family.
Baltic grey seals have been registered in the Russian Red Book of Endangered Species for quite some time, with just several thousands of them left in the Baltic Sea.
Scientists say seals from this species live in groups, meaning the baby must have gone astray and has now mistaken people in the area for his pod.
The seal whiles his days away lying on the sand, though he occasionally makes his way to the water to take a dip and look for food.
Despite attracting regular attention from crowds of curious locals and tourists just outside of Kaliningrad, this natural wonder does not appear to have been bothered in the slightest.
In fact, witnesses say the baby-seal enjoys posing for pictures. He rolls around, waves his flat flippers and playfully rolls from side to side.
“They say some women were sunbathing and he came to lay back to back with them,” a local woman told NTV channel.
The vets say the animal is in good health, though they cannot explain why the seal has chosen such an unusual spot to set up camp.
Seals of this kind tend to come to the land for some time every year and rest, but they usually choose deserted beaches, scientists say.
For whatever reason this pup has chosen a less than deserted shore, locals are happy about their surprise visitor, who has quickly become a small town celebrity. “Our toots, babe and cutie” are just some of the affectionate nicknames they have given to their adorable guest.
Having been swamped with so much public attention, rangers who patrol the area often have to ask people to back off for some time so that the pup can get some shuteye.
“At the moment the only thing that poses a threat to the seal are the crowds of onlookers. The wrong food can prove fatal,” said Oleg Nikolayev from the organization Green Patrol.
Scientists are positive as soon as the seal bulks up a bit, he will leave the beach to return to his natural habitat.

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