How you can help to look after Norfolk's seals

Visiting the seals is a popular Norfolk winter pastime. Here a baby seal pup at Horsey.Picture: Jame

Visiting the seals is a popular Norfolk winter pastime. Here a baby seal pup at Horsey.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass © 2015

Norfolk is blessed with a large population of seals, but there are some things that can be done to make sure our amphibious friends stay safe on the county's beaches.

Recently seals have been harassed by dogs and humans, with a group of men caught harassing and encircling a seal on Great Yarmouth's central beach in April, and a dog attacking one on the town's South Beach just this week.

Following the dog incident, Friends of Horsey Seals took to Facebook to urge dog walkers to keep their pets on leads while walking them on beaches with seals.

Visiting the seals is a quintessential Norfolk winter pastime (photo: James Bass)

Visiting the seals is a quintessential Norfolk winter pastime (photo: James Bass) - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

According to the group, anyone who wants to watch the seals should do so at a safe distance and not attempt to pet or approach the animals.

The RSPCA advises that seals should not be put back into the water or approached for the safety of people and the animals, as seals have a nasty bite which will cause infection, and also because moving a seal can cause mothers to abandon their pups.

Marine Wildlife and Rescue which works alongside the RSPCA and Friends of Horsey Seals to look after the animals said members should always report a lone seal pup, but not approach it.

Grey Seals (photo: James Bass)

Grey Seals (photo: James Bass) - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010


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Dan Goldsmith from the group said: "If you come across a lone seal pup in the summer months that is on a busy beach or odd location, the pup may be suffering sickness or injury.

"Please contact one of the seal rescue charities who will further advise or take a look to check on the seal pup."

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Following numerous incidents of disturbances a petition has been set up urging the government to make it illegal to touch, feed or chase and worry a seal.

The petition currently has almost 20,000 signatures, and a government response read: "The UK government recognises that disturbance by the public can be detrimental, and on occasion, fatal to seals and that greater public awareness is needed to protect these vulnerable marine mammals."

To report a seal in distress call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or contact Friends of Horsey Seals rescue team on 07706 314514.

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