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Protect coastal wildlife this summer

With better weather promised as summer sets in, many of us will want to spend those hazy days by the coast, and will find ourselves trekking over to our favourite beaches with family, friends or pets.


Cornwall is no stranger to visitors, particularly at this busy time of year, but have you ever stopped to think about the wildlife that visit too?


With Cornwall’s busiest season upon us, now is the time to recognise the signs of animals in distress and how to avoid this.


One of our most frequent visitors are seals. In Cornwall, most are grey seals (we have over a third of the entire world population in the UK), and Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust has some great advice on how to admire these sweet animals from a distance without causing a disturbance.


Photography

Local photographers know just how amazing Cornwall’s coastline is to capture, but when seals are in the area, it’s important to know when to take a step back. Seals should always be relaxed and unaware of a camera, so they will usually be looking away. Avoid taking ‘selfies’ with seals in the background, or sharing photos of mothers and pups in real time. It helps to ensure your pictures or social media posts do not give away the location of where the seals are resting, to prevent even more visitors flocking to the beach to catch a glimpse. Email your seal records to sightings@cornwallsealgroup.co.uk


Give space

It can be an amazing sight to see a seal lounging on the rocks of your favourite beach, but it’s vital to give the animals space. Talk in whispers and never get too close, as this will stress the seals and force them to rush away in dangerous ways, such as tombstoning or stampeding. If you see a seal pup that you think may be in trouble, never go near the pup and never put it back in the sea. Simply watch from afar for 30 minutes, to see if the pup’s mother returns, and call British Divers Marine Life Rescue if you are worried.


If you are concerned about a seal or a pup, please keep well away and make sure you can’t be smelt, heard or seen. Never put a seal back in the sea. Call British Divers Marine Life Rescue 01825 765546.


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