Photos: Despite visitor restrictions, some are still stopping along the Outer Banks

A juvenile gray seal off Buxton. [photo courtesy National Park Service]

Despite the continued restrictions on out-of-towners being allowed on the Outer Banks, that’s not stopping some other types of visitors from enjoying a quick visit to our beaches.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore staff photographed a couple of healthy seals lounging on Hatteras Island this week.

A juvenile gray seal was spotted off Buxton, and a harp seal hauled out for a rest near Ramp 27.

Seals, especially pups, often visit the Outer Banks during the winter and early spring.

If you see a seal or any other marine mammal while your along the oceanfront, make sure to report it to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

The OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Network offers the following tips for those who see a resting seal:

    • Give the seal a wide berth of 150 feet or more and keep pets on leashes.
    • Do not walk between a resting seal and its access to water. If you have to walk around a seal, walk on the land side and avoid blocking its exit route.
    • Be quiet around a resting seal! Loud or sudden noises will disturb them.
    • Never approach closely. Wild seals can carry diseases and parasites that you or your pet could get if bitten.
    • Kayaks, canoes and boats please avoid close approaches to haul-out sites. Engineless crafts have been shown to elicit an alarm response, causing a resting seal to rapidly enter the water.

Never offer food to a wild seal. Seals are wild animals and feeding them not only allows them to lose their natural fear of humans, but is also illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and could carry a hefty fine.

Report seal sightings to the OBX Stranding Response Team at 252-455-9654.

Have photos of a seal you sighted on our beaches? Share with the MMSN, adding date, location and your name. Email to [email protected]

This story originally appeared on Read More local stories here.

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