An elephant not unlike this one (pictured last April) has appeared on Gonzales Beach to undergo the moulting process. (Colin Smith Photography)

UPDATE: City of Victoria officials have informed Victoria Buzz that the seal has left Gonzales Beach.

EARLIER: Victorians are once again being asked to stay away from an elephant seal that has returned to Gonzales Beach to moult.

The City of Victoria tweeted on Wednesday that a seal was on the beach, and that dogs and children should be kept at a safe distance.

Victoria police also asked the public in a tweet to “let the seal moult in peace.”

An elephant seal originally made its way to Gonzales Beach last April. The moulting process usually lasts 25 to 28 days, during which time the animals don’t go into the water to feed.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and BC SPCA had to repeatedly warn the public to leave the seal alone after reports of people yelling and throwing things at the animal.

It’s not yet known if this elephant seal is the same one that appeared earlier.

The DFO told Victoria Buzz that fishery officers and their marine mammal coordinator are currently assessing the animal.

More to come.

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