West Bay Discovery Centre, West Bay, Bridport, DT6 4EN.

Seals Sightings along the Jurassic Coast

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Sightings of seals along the Jurassic Coast are becoming a more common occurrence. If you find a seal on a beach,  please watch it from a distance. If the seal reacts to your presence you are too close. Do not approach the animal.

Image from Seal Alliance

Seals regularly haul out on our coasts – it is part of their normal behaviour and, in fact, they spend more time out of the water, digesting their food and resting than in it. Therefore, finding a seal on the beach does not mean there is necessarily a problem and do not chase it into the sea as this may stop it from doing what it needs to do – rest. A healthy seal should be left alone.

Image from Seal Alliance

Do not approach a seal, or allow children or dogs near it. Seals are wild animals and although they look cute, they will defend themselves aggressively if necessary.

Getting too close to seals can lead to their injury and death, even up to several months later. Seals are vulnerable to any kind of human interactions, either deliberate or unintentional. The new ‘Give Seals Space’ signs and leaflets raise awareness of the simple steps the public can take to protect these precious creatures. It features four easy-to-remember steps:-

  • Keep well away from seals (use a camera zoom or binoculars) so that they can’t smell, hear or see you.
  • Keep dogs on a lead when in an area where seals might be present.
  • Never feed seals.
  • Take all litter home
  • If you take photographs please do not share them on Social Media indicating the location.

Young seals are most affected by disturbance and only 25% are likely to survive to the age of 18 months in a bad year. If people are being noisy or startle the vulnerable animals by getting too close, this wastes their energy, meaning young pups struggle to haul out of the water to rest and digest their food. Female seals are heavily pregnant or pupping during the summer and getting too close or disturbing them can lead to seals stampeding on rocks, which prove fatal to both mother and pup. The impact on seals can also be invisible but results in mothers not being able to build sufficient fat reserves so they cannot feed new-born pups adequately.

Key messages and resources including leaflets and signs can be found at https://www.sealalliance.org/downloads

West Bay Discovery Centre cares about the local nature, wildlife, and history of West Bay and we do what we can to protect and preserve it.

If you have any welfare concerns about a seal, please check the advice on the British Divers Marine Life Rescue website (here) or call them on 01825 765546 (office hours) or 07787 433412 (out of hours.)


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