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The Cute Seal Video NOAA Doesn’t Want You to See

This is just the sort of video that the folks at NOAA, who enforce the Marine Mammal Protection Act, don’t want you to see. Here’s a woman snuggling with an elephant seal, who is clearly nuzzling back. She’s off on the remote South Georgia Island (where Shackleton sought rescue), between Argentina and Antarctica.

These uninhabited island have become like little Galapagos, with animals that are now not so scared of people. (They probably were more wary when it was the base for seal-hunting and whaling operations). Wildlife officials always remind you that seals will bite.

The woman seems to follow the standard procedure for interacting with most wild animals: sit still and wait for the animal to come to you. The seal keeps sniffing her face and even climbs over her. (And, no, he didn’t have designs on her; elephant seal mating is much more violent.)

One guide near Canterbury, England, Wildlife Sailing, even offers a tour to a sandbank where you can swim with seals. “No need to swim to them they swim to us!” they say. Who knows what seals would do with human visitors if hunting them stopped completely?


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