Killer grey seals could attack humans say scientists

A VIDEO showing a grey seal biting and eating a harbour porpoise it has just killed has sparked fears that seals could attack humans.
Seals have a reputation for being playful and friendly but the footage, off the Welsh coastline, displays another side to their character, reported the South Wales Evening Post yesterday.
Filmed by a local wildlife watching operator in Pembrokeshire, the video shows an adult male grey seal eating its prey.
It supports a new research paper to be published in the Aquatic Mammals journal, authored by a group of naturalists, conservationists and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) scientists.
The lead author, Tom Stringell, senior marine mammal ecologist at Natural Resources Wales, said: ‘Monitoring protected habitats and species improves our understanding of our marine environment.
‘The Pembrokeshire coastline is an important habitat for a wide variety of marine life, including grey seals, harbour porpoises and other marine mammals.
‘With reports of grey seals feeding on harbour porpoises off the coast of Belgium, France and the Netherlands in the past, we were surprised to see this behaviour here in Wales.
‘We observed this happening on four separate occasions off the coast of Pembrokeshire. But, it is unclear how long this has been going on for, and why.’
Seals normally feed on fish but the video shows they will also take much larger prey.
Harbour porpoise can grow to almost two metres in length and weigh up to 80 kilogrammes (176 pounds – or 12 stones) around the same weight and size as an average human.
It is unknown what is behind the seal’s behaviour, but it is thought it could be due to competition for food from an increasing seal population, or just opportunistic hunting.
Dafydd Rees of Voyages of Discovery, who recorded the footage, said: ‘I’ve been working on this stretch of the coast, but have never seen anything like it before. It was really surprising to see and capture the footage.
‘I think it’s really good that Tom and his team have been able to use the footage to help us understand more about grey seal behaviour.’