Seals are truly beautiful creatures, aren’t they? With their dark, liquid eyes and ready smiles, it’s easy to see how people can develop such a kinship with them, and how stories about seal-people called selkies came to be. A group of divers near the Scottish coast had a once-in-a-lifetime experience when they came across a group of curious youngsters who decided they’d like to find out what these visitors were all about. Like enthusiastic puppies (which they actually resemble quite strongly!), these seals romp and play around the divers, nosing around them curiously and encouraging them to play along. The seals even grinned as they got belly rubs and head-scratches from the divers, who must have had an incredible time with these gorgeous kids.

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The grey seals that you see in this video aren’t endangered yet, but their numbers have been declining due to issues such as water pollution (pups are extremely vulnerable to toxins from oil spills), loss of prey from over-fishing, injury by plastic sea debris, and getting caught in stray fishing nets that have broken loose from trawlers. Many other seal species are now on the endangered list due to habitat loss—namely declining sea ice as the climate warms up—and exposure to toxins that get dumped into waterways day after day.

If you’d like to learn more about endangered seal species, and are interested in helping them thrive, please visit one of the links below.

+ World Wildlife Fund – Seals

+ Sea Shepherd

+ Seal Conservation Society

+ Grey Seal Conservation Society

Images via Shutterstock