Visitors urged to "stay well back" from seals

Seals at the Forvie National Nature Reserve near Newburgh
Seals at the Forvie National Nature Reserve near Newburgh

Scottish Natural Heritage is reminding visitors to keep away from the seals at Forvie National Nature Reserve.

The seals sit on the estuary of the River Ythan near Newburgh beach and are a popular attraction for visitors.

However video footage captured at the site shows sightseers and dog walkers getting too close to the animals, causing them unnecessary stress.

Gavin Clark, SNH operations manager for Tayside and Grampian, said: “We want to welcome visitors to Forvie and help them to enjoy the nature reserve and the wildlife that is protected here, but seals need time to rest in order to conserve energy. Disturbance will result in increased stress and a stampede could cause injury.

"If you’re visiting Forvie and come across the seals on the beach, our advice is to heed the signs and stay well back.

“When watching seals on the beach, be quiet, avoid sudden movements and be responsive to their behaviour. If a few seals raise their heads, then it’s a sign you are too close and they are becoming nervous.

“For the best view without the risk of disturbance, we would recommend watching the seals from Newburgh beach on the south side of the estuary.

“Any incidents of harassment at a designated seal haul out could be a wildlife crime and should be reported to the police.”