In early August, Will Badman drove to Weymouth Beach in Dorset, a town on the southwest of England, hoping to encounter the infamous seal after he learned of him on Facebook.
The adorable seal has been known to locals since the height of the United Kingdom quarantine, as Sammy took advantage of the deserted beaches to fish and rest. But as locals slowly returned to the shores, Sammy, who wasn’t a bit perturbed by their presence, continued to stick around and got friendly with them.
Badman, who began learning photography in 2017, told The Dodo that Sammy “has a habit of popping up on people unexpectedly.” He has been known to hitch rides on paddleboards, surfboards, and kayaks, while also having clambered onto the backs of passing swimmers.
“[He] seems to love the cameras,” Badman observed, having caught not only the seal’s antics but a plethora of funny facial expressions on film.
The photographer shared photos from his Aug. 9 beach trip on Facebook. “Well worth getting up at 4am today,” he posted. “Sammy is good at sneaking up on people and surprising them as he is a cheeky little thing.”
In becoming a local “seal-ebrity,” Sammy has also attracted a group of volunteers who patrol the beach, wishing to safeguard his welfare. Badman used a telescopic lens while taking some incredible photos of Sammy to keep a respectful distance; likewise, Sammy’s champions advise people to remember that he’s a wild animal despite his social nature.
“[I]f you do see him,” Badman implored, “please respect that he is wild and will scratch and bite, as he did to two people this morning.” The people bitten, he continued, were taken to a hospital to have their wounds checked out.
“If Sammy is on the beach, please keep your distance and let him rest and warm up,” the photographer advised.
However, sociable seals are not such a common occurrence on the south coast of England. Badman, having traveled over an hour to Weymouth, told Bored Panda that the trip was worth his efforts.
“[I]t’s something different to add to my profile,” Badman, who loves taking pictures of nature, landscape, and family events, said. “I have had great feedback from the photos.”
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