- Published on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 22:15
- Written by Super User
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - A gray seal locally named "Rupert" has been basking in the sun on the beach at Carolina Beach for several weeks.
Gray seals are rarely seen this far south. Rupert is molting which means his brown tinted coat is taking on a newer gray coat. Gray seals are federally protected mammals and the public should keep their distance. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), seals move quickly, may bite if harassed, and can carry diseases.
He may seem friendly at times but can be unpredictable.
NOAA recommends people not approach closer than 50 yards and feeding them is illegal and can make the animal sick while putting a person at risk of being bitten. People should not put themselves between the seal and the water. Also, watch for seal at the water’s edge when fishing and when cleaning anything with fish remains.
Rupert needs plenty of time on shore to let the molting process occur. Seals are not normally afraid so people shouldn't mistake the ease of approaching him as friendship.
If you see violations, call 911 or alert a lifeguard.