Officials at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center are reminding people that they need to keep their distance when it comes to seals on area beaches.

Yesterday, the Stranding Center held the relocation of a seal from a Sea Isle City Beach, where, apparently, many people - and their dogs - moved in too close to see the seal, and volunteers were worried about stress on the sea.

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On Facebook, officials of the Stranding Center posted the following:

This morning we relocated a healthy male harbor seal to a more remote beach after an overnight observation at the Center. This seal was hauled out yesterday in Sea Isle City, but unfortunately far too many people, some with dogs, continued to crowd around him as he tried to rest. Seals need to haul out on land to rest after hunting, digest their food and restore their energy. Not giving them at least 150 feet of space forces seals to be constantly vigilant, wasting their energy and may force them back into the water before they are ready. Many of the seals in our area are young animals that still have a big learning curve, it is unfair to them to add our human need for photos, videos, selfies and social media check-in's to their list of challenges they must navigate to survive in the wild.

Officials say that it's very important to keep 150 feet away from any seal - more if they are alerted to your presence. (They describe 150 feet as being three school buses away.)

Seals are federally protected animals. They do bite, and that could mean terrible consequences to man and dog alike.

Finally, they urge the public NOT to post whereabouts of seals on social media, as that usually brings more people to an area to watch the seal.

SOURCE: Marine Mammal Stranding Center

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