An angler threw a beer bottle at a seal when it interfered with his fishing line, a charity has said.
Photos taken at Hope’s Nose, near Torquay, appear to show a man hurling a projectile at the creature from a cliff.
Duncan Kenny, who took the pictures, said the grey seal was hunting when the angler emptied the bottle and launched it, hitting the animal on the back.
Mr Kenny called it “appalling and inconsiderate behaviour”.
He said he was collecting litter at the Devon beauty spot with members of the Seal Project conservation charity when he witnessed the attack on Sunday morning.
“The seal made an attempt to get the fishing line,” he said.
“The angler finished his beer, drained the bottle and threw it at the seal.
“The bottle hit the seal on the back and it swam off.”
Mr Kenny said that “fortunately seals are robust creatures”, but said the seal was simply doing what was in its nature.
“By throwing a glass bottle at it you are stopping it from hunting,” he said.
The Seal Project said it was “not an isolated case” and it had received “numerous reports of this aggressive behaviour recently”.
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In a Facebook post, it said volunteers had collected 12 bags of rubbish during Sunday’s visit to Hope’s Nose and observed “multiple examples of antisocial behaviour”.
All seals are protected under the Conservation of Seals Act and people are advised to stay away from them.