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Prince Edward Islanders should give the hundreds of seal pups on Island beaches their space, says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The department estimates between 200 and 300 pups that were on ice floes have blown ashore over the past week. The pups can survive on shore, living on their fat, until they're ready to go into the water, but while they're on the beach they are vulnerable to predators like coyotes and eagles.

Bobby MacInnis, chief of conservation and protection for DFO in Charlottetown, is also concerned with how humans may react to finding seal pups on the beach.

"Don't be going up and trying to pet or poke the seal," he said.

"It's a wild animal in its natural environment, and we just advise the people to leave the seal alone. That's where it's meant to be."

MacInnis warned that the seals could bite if approached.

He said so far DFO officers have only seen a few dead seal pups on the shore.

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