The public has been urged to “be mindful” of seals as an animal charity prepares for an influx of the animals during the winter months.
It comes as the Scottish SPCA revealed it will start caring for more than 100 grey seals and seal pups at its National Wildlife Rescue Centre during the colder months.
The charity has used World Animal Day, which is on Wednesday, as an opportunity to remind the public that they should keep a safe distance from seals, and never attempt to touch, carry, or chase the animals.
National Wildlife Rescue Centre manager, Chris Hogsden, urged the public to get in touch if they believe a seal could be in danger.
He said, “As we come in to autumn and winter, we expect to care for around in excess of 100 grey seals.
“We see such an influx in the colder months because grey seals come ashore at this time of year to give birth. They also haul out on beaches, rocks, slipways to rest so this is not an unusual sight.
“If you see a seal or pup on the beach, you may be concerned that they are stranded and need help. In most cases, it is actually perfectly normal for seals to spend time onshore, so this may not be a cause for concern.
“Seal pups are often left by their mother whilst she forages for food. If they look healthy and there are no signs of injury, they do not usually need our help. You can check regularly for signs of the mother returning, but please be mindful that the mother will not return if you stand next to or close to the seal pup.
“We would like to remind the public that if they spot a grey seal, they should keep a safe distance to not cause them any undue stress. Please also remember to keep any canine companions on a lead around wildlife.
“Never touch a seal or attempt to carry or chase them back into the sea. This is likely to cause stress for the animal and even young seals are dangerous wild animals with the potential to cause injury.
“If you are unsure whether a seal needs our help, please monitor them from a safe distance for a 24 hour period. If the animal has any visible signs of injury, looks generally unwell, or has been out of the water for 12-24 hours please contact our helpline on 03000 999 999 for advice.”
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