The Sunday Telegraph
TV wildlife lovers warned to stay away from sea creatures
COASTAL wildlife is increasingly being disturbed by tourists seeking close encounters with nature after being inspired by TV shows.
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly saw reports of wildlife disturbances rise by a third last year, according to the area’s Environmental Records Centre. In Wales, officials have warned holidaymakers not to approach dolphins after a family was spotted chasing and attempting to swim with a dolphin cow and her calf in Cardigan Bay.
Experts fear sea creatures are being harmed or even killed by an increasing number of visitors due to the popularity of Blue Planet and Springwatch. “In no way am I criticising the coverage in these programmes,” Sue Sayer, from the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust, told the BBC. “I am only emphasising that we, as members of the public, should not aim to replicate this kind of close-up encounter.”
Dan Jarvis, of British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said: “We’ve had a lot of recent reports about people disturbing seals and seabirds. People are getting too close and scaring them off. Birds may have nests and young that need looking after, and if seals are out of the water they may be digesting.”
Official advice is to observe wildlife quietly, respectfully, and from a distance of around 300ft.
Meanwhile, yesterday Sir David Attenborough launched Plastics Watch, an initiative to pull together hundreds of conservation programmes inspired by the documentary series.