A pony fell to its death from a tourist hotspot in Wales after it was frightened by a group of people taking selfies, a farmer has said.
Visitors to the beauty spot at Rhossili on the Gower Peninsula have been warned not to approach ponies following the incident.
The newborn foal was apparently panicked after the group moved “closer and closer” to the animal before it tripped and fell off the cliff.
Farmer Nicky Beynon, 60, who farms in Llangennith and Rhossili, told the BBC that the foal was “staggering to its feet” and “trying to learn to stand up” when people tried to touch it and take pictures.
He said: “They all want to take a photograph, but they don't realise what they're doing – the amount of stress they're putting on the animal.”
Following the incident, which took place in April, wildlife lovers have been urged to “give creatures some space” if they see them while walking.
A National Trust spokesman said: “The land that we care for at Rhossili and along the Gower coast is home to a variety of special wildlife and livestock that grazes freely across the common land and meadows.
“We ask everyone that visits Rhossili to follow the Countryside Code and observe a few simple guidelines. Be mindful of all the creatures here by giving them space, that includes the horses, ponies and sheep.
“And help us to protect this place for everyone to enjoy by keeping dogs on short leads around animals, closing gates and taking your litter home with you.”
Walkers urged to ‘keep their distance’
The incident was reported by volunteers at the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) station at Worm's Head.
It comes after a “young lady” was kicked by a stallion at the site while trying to stroke the animal during a day out.
An NCI spokesman said: “Stay safe around horses. 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.“
The dangers of selfies and how to take them safely
In an age where phones are able to take intricate and visually stunning photos, it is no surprise that people want to capture moments when out and about.
However, the simple act of taking a selfie can also be a dangerous one as people go to extreme lengths to get the perfect shot.
In fact, a study found that 379 people around the world were killed due to selfies between 2008 and 2021.
Selfies have resulted in deaths by drowning, with people being swept off beaches or from boats, while taking photos on train tracks or from high places also carry greater risks.
It might be easy to say that “it’s just not worth the risk for a photo”, but there are some things you can do to lower the risk when taking a selfie in places where danger might be lurking.
The Safer Tourism Foundation suggests using selfie sticks as a perfect way to stop having to lean or stretch too far to take a photo, especially when you are somewhere high up or close to the edge of a drop.
However, they say they should be used with care and many places – including football clubs, music venues, museums and theme parks – have now banned them.
Selfie-takers should also avoid walking backwards to get a better angle, while also taking care to keep both feet on the ground.
People taking selfies should make sure others – like small children – are safe and monitored at all times, particularly around swimming pools, on the beach and around water.
Taking photos in extreme weather should also be avoided, while safety barriers and signs are there for a reason.