The British actress and model uploaded the picture to the social media platform and captioned the post: “Found these magnificent starfish, alive but stranded, on the beach — they’re now happily back at the bottom of the sea”.
While some people praised Hurley for her wildlife rescue efforts, others claimed that she had caused more harm to the starfish by holding them up for the camera.
“They are extremely delicate and most likely won’t survive once you take them out of the sea and manipulate them,” commented one person.
“You just killed those stars by taking them out of the water,” wrote someone else.
“They are beautiful, too bad they died after you took that photo,” another person commented. “People must know that starfish die when you take them out of the water!”
Starfish, or sea stars, have recently been dying off across the world as scientists link its borderline extinction to warming ocean temperatures caused by the climate crisis.
In January 2021, thousands of dead starfish were stranded in Pembrokeshire after stormy weather battered the Welsh coast.
Many marine wildlife experts also suggest not handling starfish because human hands contain bacteria and oils that are dangerous to sea creatures with a porous outer surface, like starfish.
The 56-year-old bikini designer has hit back at her critics in the past, after she posted a topless photo to social media in January 2021, with the caption, “How could I resist?”
Piers Morgan called the picture, taken in the snow, “creepy” and “thirsty” and speculated that Hurley’s then-teenage son may have taken the photograph.
Defending herself, Hurley then tweeted the photograph again, with the caption: “Far be it for me to suggest the tabloids get their facts muddled, but these pics were in fact taken by my 80-year-old mother. Not entirely sure if that puts minds at rest or not.”