This disturbing footage shows a colony of panicked seals flinging themselves off a cliff edge after being startled by humans.
The frantic pups can be seen desperately throwing themselves off a 16ft cliff edge and bouncing off razor-sharp rocks onto the beach and water below.
Experts say the grey seals may often break or damage their flippers during the fall, leaving them unable to swim or hunt properly.
The clip captured at St Mary’s Island, north of Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, reveals the alarming consequences of the disturbances caused by human activity.
A spokesperson for St. Mary’s Seal Watch (SMSW) has issued a stark warning to visitors urging them to view the mammals quietly from within the lighthouse compound.
She said: “Disturbance of all levels results in heightened vigilance and loss of energy.
“When it happens repeatedly it can reduce the animal’s chances of remaining healthy or even their survival.
“When disturbance happens on a rocky site like St. Mary’s Island the chances of injury is high.
“While many visitors, once aware are respectful of the animal’s needs, there are those, whether through ignorance or intent, that are not.
“While we would always try to prevent occurrences such as these without much more robust management of the site these incidents will happen too often.
“Nature Reserves are places where wildlife should be protected and undisturbed. If wildlife is not safe on a nature reserve where will it be?
“Disturbance is caused by the sight and sound of visitors.
“Some of these disturbances happened when people ignored the advice given and willfully encroached onto the wildlife sensitive areas, while others were caused by the site and sounds of people within the lighthouse compound.
“Many disturbances are caused by water activities. Audible and visual disturbance cues trigger a panic and this is what happens.
“Incidents like this can be prevented if people avoid the rocky area of the island, remain concealed, stay quiet and give the island a wide berth when carrying out activities in the water.”
The footage was shot at St Mary’s Island, which is a land base spot where seals flock to carry out essential life functions such as breeding, digestion, restoration of energy.
Although the island is not primarily used as a breeding ground, juveniles from the Farne Islands and the Isle of May make regular use of the site while they learn to fend for themselves.
Rest is essential for young pups and the loss of an important ‘pit stop’ will have a serious impact on their well-being, say experts.
SMSW wardens are encouraging visitors to view the wildlife quietly from within the lighthouse compound.