The incident took place on the Great Blasket Island in County Kerry, Ireland over the summer.
Claire de Haas and Brock Montgomery brought the incident to light after they spent the past six months as holiday home caretakers on Great Blasket island, which is regarded as the grey seal capital of Ireland and home to over 1,000 seals.
De Haas describes her shock when she saw two tourists try to take a selfie with a newborn seal pup on the beach.
In an interview with The Pat Kenny Show, de Haas recalls how the pair of tourists picked up the seal pup from the beach, hurled it into the ocean before pulling the young animal back to land so they could hold it and take a photo with it. However, as the newborn pup was less than three weeks old, the animal was unable to swim and died during their pursuit to hold it for a selfie.
“The worst thing that happened was two people picking up a newborn seal pup, throwing it in the ocean, and dragging it back onto the beach to take a selfie,” says de Haas. “In their first three weeks, seals can’t swim so it, unfortunately, died afterward because the mum rejected the pup.”
She says that this was not an isolated incident as many tourists will run or chase after the seals on the island in a bid to take a selfie with the animals.
“That was the worst thing we’ve seen but many times people chase the seals or they run after them,” explains de Haas. “They do everything for a selfie. It was really disappointing.”
She adds “There is no signage on the island to educate or inform people about general wildlife rules or the seals.”
In an interview The Irish Examiner, fellow caretaker Montgomery also described how many tourists on Great Blasket Island will take seal pups from the water and the beach and hold them up for selfies.
In 2019, a woman was attacked by a jaguar at a zoo in Arizona on Saturday after crossing a barrier to get closer to the animal for a selfie. Meanwhile a man in India was mauled to death by a bear after he approached the animal to take a selfie with it.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.