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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fishing for compliments: Seal who charms seasiders with a friendly wave

By Daily Mail Reporter

Waves for whelks: Charlie the seal waving his flipper to ask for food in the harbour in Howth, Ireland

Say hello to the seal who has learned that by acting like an impatient customer in a restaurant, he can get an extra helping of fish.

Cheery Charlie has discovered that by pleasing the crowd with a friendly wave he can gain the upper hand on his fish-loving rival seals.

Visitors to Howth near Dublin, Ireland flock to the local harbour to purchase fish by the bucket load to chuck to the hungry seals and Charlie's wave has landed him a place at the top table.

The cheeky swimmer sometimes gets a bite on the head from other members of the seal colony but his mimicry of a diner desperate for service means he gets a generous portion from charmed locals.

Photographer Paul Hughes, 40, from Dublin was on hand to capture this magic moment.

'He seems to have learned how to do this by imitating people,' explained Paul.

'People love it - it gets him noticed and they wave back at him.

'And at the end of the day he gets to gobble up more fish than the other seals.'

Service please! Charlie cheekily waves a flipper while floating off the Irish coast, looking more like an impatient restaurant customer than a sea dweller

'Sometimes they get quite jealous of his catch and will give him a little bite on the head,' Mr Hughes added.

'But he can just carry on waving without a care in the world.'
Seals are a common sight off the coast of Ireland and across the British Isles.

They can grow to over seven feet in length and weigh up to 250 kg. They live mainly off fish and squid.

Pick me! Charlie stands out among the other seals in Howth by giving a wave to passers by



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