Michaela Strachan warns wildlife watchers against 'disturbing' animals

Michaela Strachan stressed the importance of ‘good wildlife watching’ as people can get carried away taking photos of animals.

The Springwatch presenter spoke about a video she saw online taken from a drone that was flying over grey seals in the Isle of May, with each one dropping into the water at the sight of it.

She was fearful as grey seals can be ‘disturbed very easily’ and it may have been harmful to them to be in the water.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk and other press ahead of the new series of Autumnwatch, Michaela said: ‘If it’s at a time when they’re shedding, they’re not waterproof enough to be able to cope with going into the water. If they’ve got pups, it’s not the time for them to be going into the water so that they can be disturbed very easily.’

‘I was so interested because of the comments underneath. There was only one comment that said, “Maybe you shouldn’t be doing that, you’re frightening the seals”, all the other comments were “Wow, that’s amazing footage, blah, blah, blah”,’ she explained.

‘Yes we want to encourage people to enjoy wildlife, but we’ve really got to make sure that they realise what good wildlife watching means, and that means not going right in the animal’s face and getting a picture of it.’

The TV star watched Springwatch ‘every day’ when the coronavirus pandemic forced her to miss the series earlier this year.

Michaela was unable to return to the UK from South Africa in May as the country went into lockdown.

Thankfully she is back in the fold for Autumnwatch, posted in Tentsmuir Forest in Fife, hoping to spot seals, otters, badgers and kingfishers.

While she was abroad, Michaela made sure to tune in to see what co-hosts Chris Packham, Gillian Burke and Iolo Williams were up to, but confessed she felt ‘extremely frustrated’ at not being able to be a part of the action.

She shared: ‘I have to say I felt part of the team because I watched it every day, and I was so proud of what they managed to achieve.

‘It’s such a difficult time and technically the program was unbelievable. The fact that they pulled it off and pulled it off with you know such professionalism. There was never a glitch in the whole series. It was incredible.

‘I was frustrated but I’m really, really pleased to be back and I’m really pleased that for two weeks, I can immerse myself in British wildlife and I have a particularly fantastic location this year. I can just forget about the anxiety and the stress.’

Autumnwatch starts October 27 at 8pm on BBC Two.

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