VISITORS to a Welsh beauty spot have been warned not to "take selfies" with the ponies after a panicked newborn foal fell to its death from cliffs.
The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI), which has a base at Worm's Head at Rhossili, South Wales, urged visitors to keep their distance from the ponies that roam wild there.
Those taking pictures should "use the zoom" function on their cameras and smartphones to get close ups, to avoid spooking the animals, it is advised.
In a separate incident, a woman was "kicked by a stallion" and required first aid care, the NCI said.
It posted on Facebook: "Almost every day, whilst driving to and from our hut, we see members of the public trying to stroke or take 'selfies' with the horses.
"We do stop when we see it happening and explain that the horses are semi feral or wild.
"It was only recently we had to transport a young lady up to the car park after she had been kicked by a stallion near our hut.
"We did what we could first aid wise but she found walking difficult.
"Obviously we will always do what we can in these situations, but we wish people would keep their distance from the horses.
"Only a few weeks ago a newborn foal was lost over the cliffs because it panicked when a group of people tried to get selfies with it.
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"Keep your distance and use the zoom facility to get close ups. Stay safe around horses."
The National Trust, which manages land along the Gower Coast, echoed the calls for visitors to keep their distance from wildlife and livestock.
A spokesperson from National Trust Cymru, Gower said: "We ask everyone that visits Rhossili to follow the Countryside Code and observe a few simple guidelines: Be mindful of all the creatures here, including the horses, ponies and sheep, by giving them space and taking pictures from a distance using a zoom facility to minimise any disruption and stress caused to them.
"Please do not approach them. Help us protect this place for everyone to enjoy by also keeping dogs on short leads around animals, closing gates and taking your litter home with you."
Earlier this year, New Forest District Council approved measures banning the petting and feeding of ponies and other animals living roaming the national park in Hampshire, out of concern for their wellbeing.
Those caught breaching the rules could face fines of up to £1,000.
The Countryside Alliance campaign group organisation believes the Countryside Code could be updated to specifically include reference to amateur photographers.
Mo Metcalf-Fisher, its director of external affairs said: "This is an incredibly sad report, which demonstrates how selfish behaviour can lead to totally avoidable tragedy.
"The Countryside Code makes it clear that people visiting the countryside should keep a safe distance from animals. This should be perfectly obvious, but time and time again there are people that think they know better.
"Putting your urge to take an up-close snap or selfie for social media before the welfare of animals such as ponies is highly dangerous".
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"The countryside is not a theme park, it's a full-time place of work for many and home to both humans and animals. In light of incidents like this, the Countryside Code should include a specific reference to amateur photographers, making it clear selfies shouldn't come before respecting an animal's space."
The first Countryside Code booklet was published in 1951, and was last updated in April 2021 for the first time in over a decade.
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