Photo of the week: Seal of approval

Summary

Visitors to the coast continue to be worried about seals on the beach, but authorities say it’s perfectly normal

Taking five

Several calls were made to police this week in Ostend, as visitors to the coast saw seals on the beach that they assumed were sick or injured. But visitors have nothing to worry about, said authorities, as the seals are just resting.

Seals are becoming a more common sight on the Flemish coast, and locals are used to the phenomenon. But visitors tend to think that the animal is in need of help.

Seals dive for fish off the coast and then flop up onto the beach for a well-deserved rest. They also like to let their coats dry out before heading back into the chill waters.

Authorities ask that people keep at least a 20-metre distance from the seals and try to keep their dogs away from them as well. Seals are not overly aggressive but can bite if they feel threatened – and the bite is nasty. It can not only inflict damage, it can spread disease.

There is a rescue operation for sick or injured seals, but most of the animals on the coast are just fine. People are asked to alert authorities only if it is visible injured or doesn’t appear to be alert.

Photo: Kurt Desplenter/BELGA