We learned from one of our subscribers that the Le PAL zoo and amusement park (Auvergne-Rhônes-Alpes) offered activities of swim with the seals.
By means of 150 € per personthe park offers “1 hour of immersion in the world of harbor seals”.
According to the park, “the activity takes place in 3 stages:
- Presentation of the complex, the species, the ecological issues, the threats to this species and its environment and the missions of the Le PAL Nature Foundation
- At the water’s edge on the beach: presentation of the species, the animals and their way of life
- Moment of sharing in the basin with the seals of the PAL »
You should know that the harbor seal is a species that can observe in France, especially on the Channel coasts. Research groups, associations and rescue centers exist in our country to learn more about pinnipeds. Our association also regularly teaches and raises awareness about seals.
In addition to representing a risk of transmission of pathogens species, swimming with captive seals is a practice that can be stressful for the animal. Every day (except summer), groups of 4 people maximum take part in this activity at the PAL.
Even if in the natureseals can be seen approaching divers or swimmers, these interactions are chosen by the animal. However, in this zoo, the animal does not choose, it is the visitors who pay (dearly) for this interaction. Seeing many visitors pass through your pool can be a great source of stress for the animal.
Who says stress, says potentially reaction dangerous. The seal is a wild animal whose actions cannot be anticipated; the risks of bitein particular, are very real.
By the park’s own admission, this activity is potentially disruptive since according to an article in France Bleu, “the activity is offered from May to the end of June, then from September, so as not to disturb the seals all summer. These seals even had to undergo a two year training to get used to the human presence…
We believe that the captivity of pinnipeds is useless for their conservation and safeguarding since there is no reintroduction program in the wild by zoos, apart from occasional rescue operations.
The harbor seal also has the status ofprotected species in France.
It is for these reasons that we ask stopping this activity swimming with the seals within the PAL and a prohibition of this practice in zoological parks across nationalboth for animal welfare and visitor safety.