The DEC is urging residents in New York to avoid close encounters with seals and other marine mammals, including whales and dolphins.

Commissioner Seggos, is urging New Yorkers to stay at least 150 feet or 50 yards away from seals and other marine mammals as they are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Commissioner Seggos said:

From ocean beaches to the Hudson River, New York's marine environment provides vital habitat for local seal populations. Observing these charismatic animals in the wild can be an exciting and unforgettable experience. When viewing the diverse marine life our state offers, we urge New Yorkers to remain at a safe, responsible, and legal distance from seals at all times. During these extraordinary times, residents are encouraged to practice safe and responsible outdoor recreation that incorporates social distancing while also demonstrating respect for local wildlife

While staying at least 150 feet from seals, if residents notice their presence is changing the behavior of the seal, they should move further away. Signs of stress in seals include raising their flipper, showing their teeth, yawning, and eating sand and rocks.

Reporting sightings seals better helps the DEC in understanding seal distribution in New York, according to a press release.

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