Public warned not to disturb seals on Ythan

A crowd is pictured getting too close to seals at the Forvie National Nature Reserve
A crowd is pictured getting too close to seals at the Forvie National Nature Reserve

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is warning people not to get too close to seals after recent incidents on the Ythan at Forvie National Nature Reserve.

People visiting the estuary on Sunday were seen getting far too close to the seals which can lead to the animals becoming stressed and they can also abandon their pups.

Annabel Drysdale, SNH’s Forvie NNR manager, said: “We all love to watch wildlife, but we also need to protect it so we’d ask people to go to the beach at Newburgh, where you can get a better view without accidentally disturbing the seals.

“If you are visiting Forvie and come across seals on the beach, stay at least 150 metres away and if one or two heads come up, that means you’re close enough.”

When watching seals on the beach be quiet, avoid sudden movements and be responsive to their behaviour. Back off if it looks like the seals may enter the water.

Be especially cautious if there are pups present; seals can move surprisingly quickly and they may bite if they feel threatened.

Also don’t crowd or encircle seals and ensure the animal has access to the water.