How to 'Watch Seals Well'

Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust provides the below guidance for ‘watching seals well’ and we ask that you keep it in mind whilst enjoying watching these wild animals in their natural habitat.

We are so lucky to have regular visits from seals here in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. It’s very exciting when you spot a seal and we understand it’s natural that you may shout for friends to come closer to see it or you may be tempted to try and take a photo. Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust provides the below guidance for ‘watching seals well’ and we ask that you keep it in mind whilst enjoying watching these wild animals in their natural habitat.

The UK is home to 38% of the entire world’s population of grey seals and 30% of the European subspecies of common seals. These precious mammals face an extensive list of threats, including climate change, toxic pollution, over-fishing, entanglement, collisions with vessels, plastics and other marine debris. Of these threats, disturbance from human interaction is a significant and growing problem. Here are some tips to help you watch seals responsibly…

Give Wildlife Space

Disturbance is bad for a seal as it interrupts their rest, causes them stress, wastes their energy and can therefore result in injury or death.

Stay Out of Sight

Avoid activities near seals. If a seal is looking at you, you’re too close and have disturbed it. Back away so the seal doesn’t have to find a new resting place. Seals injure themselves if you scare them into the sea. Please do not seek out experiences with seals in the sea. If you have a chance encounter keep moving. If seals make a big splash ‘crash dive’, it shows they are distressed.

Be Responsible

Please keep dogs under control on leads and if you see any litter on the beach, please take it home with you or find a bin. Never fly drones near seals or try to take a selfie with a seal. If you would like to take a photo, please keep a good distance (100m+) and use your camera zoom.

All images used in this blog were taken on a long-lens camera by marine-life professionals. Image credit Ben Watkins for the top main image and lower right hand side image.

If you have enjoyed learning about the native seals you can read more on our partnership with Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust and British Divers Marine Life Rescue here.

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