Doctor builds incredible friendship with adorable seals
THIS unusual friendship is SEAL-ed with a kiss – as a diver poses for snaps with his new furry friend.
Ben Burville, a GP from Northumberland, has struck up the incredible relationship with a colony of inquisitive seals.
Members of the pod can be seen holding hands, kissing and playing with the creatures.
He is now so well recognised by them that they instantly swim up to him – and Ben admits to spending every spare moment in the water with his news friends.
Ben said: “Seals are a lot brighter than people think. They are social animals and they are incredibly inquisitive.
“Seals can grasp with their flippers, which are like a human hand.
“They are big animals, but it is also interesting to see how gentle they can be.
“They are naturally inquisitive, and I think at times they will come up close and inspect a diver as a way of asserting their place in the seal hierarchy. It’s saying ‘I’m bold.’
“They like to play, with divers and with each other.”
Ben, who works at a practice in Amble, regular dives off the Northumberland coast around Coquet Island and the Farne islands.
The doctors incredible journey began when his wife Kirsty – who also dives – bought a digital camera with an underwater housing.
Ben added: “I was addicted.”
Using his new gear, he set about filming the regular dives on the sea floor.
And after positing the videos to social media, they quickly went viral – and has appeared on the BBC show Countryfile.
His footage has now prompted the Newcastle-based Marine Management Organisation to ask him to carry out a five-year underwater filming study of white-beaked dolphins off the North East coast.
Ben said of the project: “We have to protect our marine heritage because if we don’t it will not be there for future generations.”