‘Disgusting’ footage of three jet skiers disturbing seals trying to give birth at Skegness has lead to public outrage and a police investigation.
The video was captured by a bird watcher at Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve at 12.20pm on Sunday last week - and shows the trio racing their jet skis close to the seal colony.
The animals can be seen hurried moving out of the way of the noisy machines. Some make a dash for the water to swim away - putting them at risk of being struck by them.
Posting his video on Twitter, Liam Andrews wrote: “I was enjoying a bird watch at Gibraltar Point when three selfish individuals on jet skis crossed into the sanctuary area and intentionally disturbed an internationally important breeding colony of over 250 common seals.”
Speaking to the Standard, he added: “I was very disappointed to see people with such disregard for wildlife and upset to see they decided to ride all the way to ‘Gib’ rather than ride around Skegness where they would do less harm. Ultimately I just hope these actions getting so much attention will show people it’s not an okay thing to do and we need to respect nature.”
Former Skegness councillor John Byford shared the video on Facebook, asking: “Can you help name and shame these narcissistic overpaid idiots?”
We spoke to Natureland Seal Sanctuary about the incident. Nicky Yeadon said: “What a terrible thing to do, particularly at this time of year when the seals are pupping. This sort of behaviour can cause panic in the group and could possibly lead to premature birthing and separating mums from their pups.”
Facebook users have responded in disgust. Commenting on our story, Michael Loseby wrote: “As a jet skier I am totally gobsmacked at what these idiots have done - no respect for anything and gives the rest of us a bad name.”
Others have labelled the pair ‘ignorant idiots’ and ‘b*****ds’.
But astonishingly, this in not an isolated incident.
Kevin Wilson, nature reserve warden at Gibraltar Point told us: “An incident on June 1 was also witnessed when six jet-skis landed on the sand bars, eight people dismounted and walked through the colony site.”
He went on: “The footage of the common seal colony being deliberately disturbed by three jet-skiers on June 16 has generated what can only be described as outrage from hundreds of viewers on social media. The common seal colonies in The Wash are internationally important. These animals, along with many waterbirds and their habitats, are afforded protection under European Directives.
“At this time of year it is particularly important the common seal colony is not disturbed whilst the females are giving birth to pups. At this time, they are particularly susceptible to stress. Disturbance incidents such as the intrusion of loud and fast jet skis into the colony can send the animals into panic that can displace new-born pups from their mothers and they may become orphaned.”
"The Lincolnshire Biodiversity Action Plan states; Female seals are particularly susceptible to disturbance during pupping, which is likely to have an adverse effect on pups' survival rates."
A spokesman from Lincolnshire Police’s wildlife crime unit said: “We are aware of this incident and would appeal for information. Registration numbers of the vehicles used to transport the jet skis would be great as we need to trace these people.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police by dialling 101 and quoting incident number 340 of June 16.