Seal pups ‘abandoned’ on Swedish beach

Small and fuzzy seal pups currently lining southern Swedish beaches have caused quite a stir, as many concerned callers to the police have worried that the pups have been helplessly abandoned on the beach.

Seal pups 'abandoned' on Swedish beach

The seals are no cause for concern however, reported local newspaper Hallands Nyheter.

“There’s nothing strange at all about seal pups being on their own at this time of year,” said Magnus Bartholdsson of the Halland police force to Hallands Nyheter.

“Either the mother is out fishing, or she’s rejected the pups because they’re old enough to get by on their own, and they will be just fine as long as nobody touches them,” Bartholdsson explained.

This isn’t the first time that the lonely little pups have caused confusion, and Halland’s police force is accustomed to dealing with the many calls from the public.

“The same thing happens every year around this time. People don’t understand that mamma seal is out fishing, and that she doesn’t dare return to her pup because people are standing too close by, watching them,” said police officer Stefan Dahlhielm to the TT news agency.

He advises curious bystanders to stay a couple of hundred metres away, so that the seals can calmly return to take care of their pups.

“The kids are big enough now to lie on the beach and wait for their mothers. It’s perfectly natural,” Dahlhielm said.

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Paris authorities to shut down bird market over cruelty concerns

The Paris city council on Wednesday agreed to shut down a live bird market operating in the historic centre close to Notre Dame cathedral, responding to rights activists who called it a cruel and archaic operation.

Paris authorities to shut down bird market over cruelty concerns
Photo: AFP

The bird market on Louis Lepine square in the centre of the French capital has long been a fixture in Paris, operating close to the famous flower market.

But Christophe Najdovski, Paris' deputy mayor in charge of animal welfare, said that the market was a centre for bird trafficking in France while conditions for the birds were not acceptable.

“This is why we are committed to changing the regulations to ban the sale of birds and other animals,” he said.

The closure had been urged by activists from the Paris Animals Zoopolis collective who had called the practice of showing the caged birds “cruel and archaic”.

France and Paris have in the last months adopted a series of measures aiming to show they are at the forefront of efforts to protect animal welfare.

The government said in September it planned to “gradually” ban mink farms as well the use of wild animals in travelling circuses and dolphins and orcas in theme parks.

Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, announced last month it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium.