A moulting elephant seal once again prompted the City of Victoria to cordon off part of a popular beach on Wednesday.

The city tweeted on Wednesday that a juvenile female elephant seal reappeared on Gonzales Beach to moult and asked the public to keep their distance.

The seal first appeared on the beach at the end of April, and after staying for two weeks, it appeared to have taken off. It was gone for about a week-and-a-half until it reappeared Wednesday.

After spending several hours on the beach, the seal reportedly swam off once more, according to the city.

It's unclear where the animal went or why it returned, but it was presumably to finish off the moulting process, which typically lasts a month.

During the process, elephant seals can appear in distress as they shed their fur and underlying layer of skin.

That prompted a warning from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which asked anyone who comes across the seal to not interfere.

But some couldn't help themselves from harassing the seal, as the DFO received reports of children barking at the animal and dogs running up to it.

Anyone who sees a marine mammal that appears abandoned, injured or is being harassed is asked to report it to the BC Marine Mammal Response Network at 1-800-465-4336.