When a baby gray seal became separated from its colony near Norfolk, England, this week, it did what you might expect any other unsupervised child to do: It wandered straight to the nearest arcade.
Around 11:00 PM, Marine and Wildlife Rescue, a local rescue nonprofit, received a call that a seal pup was wandering alone outside a kebab shop. The shop in question was about a quarter mile from the coast—much further inland than these notoriously curious animals usually stray. When the team arrived, they found the seal scooting along a sidewalk outside a nearby arcade.
The volunteers were able to quickly pick up the seal and transport it back to the beach via stretcher. There, it was returned to the water. According to an interview with the BBC, this was the second wandering seal the rescuers had been called to wrangle that week.
These pups were among thousands of baby gray seals that appeared on the South England coast this January, breaking recent records. According to one tally, nearly 4,000 pups have been born this season along Norfolk’s beach alone—about double the count from the previous year.
Among England’s most popular wildlife, the baby seals attract hundreds of visitors to the beach. Each January, so many people flock to the coast to view the animals that volunteers have to stage regular patrols to make sure wildlife enthusiasts don’t get too close.
While the kebab shop and arcade are likely happier about their human tourists than the marine ones, biologists are pleased with the numbers.
“It is a sign of a healthy colony,” said local volunteer Peter Ansell in an interview with The Guardian. “At the moment the North Sea is providing enough fish for thousands of seals, and this is a nice place for them to come ashore and do their breeding.”