An injured seal pup died last Sunday after British beachgoers chased after it to take selfies, the Dorset Echo reports.
The seal allegedly washed up on Chesil Beach in Dorset, in southern England, with serious injuries. A passerby then contacted the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a marine mammal rescue organization, while Derek Davey, a wildlife expert, temporarily took care of it.
"Its flipper was infected, it wasn’t a deep wound, so it could be repaired quite easily," Davey told the newspaper. "But there were several puncture wounds on its body."
The wounded seal was also reported to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), but it was purportedly chased back into the water before officials from the charity organization could tend to it. According to the Echo, several beachgoers had crowded around it and attempted to take photos with it.
Speaking to the paper, Davey criticized the crowd that scared the pup.
"Taking photographs and crowding around it made it go back into the water to get away," he said. "Luckily it later came ashore again, but it would have died if it stayed in the water."
Although the pup did reportedly return, the RSPCA has since confirmed its death.
"Sadly, the seal rescued from Chesil Beach was in an emaciated condition and had a long linear wound around one flipper, right the way down to the knuckle bones," a spokesperson for the charity said. "The wildlife vet cleaned the wound out, but the infection was already in the bone and so the decision was made to put the seal to sleep based on the extent of this injury and the impact it would have on the future of the seal."
Officials believe the seal's wound was caused by a fishing line that was wrapped around its flipper.