If you find a seal or pup on the land/beach DO NOT approach it or scare it back into the sea.

Seals do need to come ashore to rest and if they've been battling with big, heavy seas or are injured they will be tired and need a break.  Scaring them, or flushing them, into the sea will just distress them and make them more tried and could potentially cause their death.

Pups are often left alone by their mothers who may be offshore and difficult to see; by approaching the pups parents can be scared off and in turn abandon their young.  Often a pup found on a beach is being watched by its mother; mothers tend to return to pups on flood tides (when the tide is coming back in or approaching high tide)

Please ensure that you keep dogs and children away from seals or pups; they may look cute and cumbersome but they can move surprisingly fast on land and have very big sharp teeth.

What should you do if you discover an injured seal or pup on the beach?

The advice is simple; do not approach and give our resident vet, Heike, a call on  01720 423667.

Heike may not immediately come out, her response will vary depending on whether the seal is injured or abandoned. 

Usual practice is to monitor seal pups for a period of about 24 hours (unless they are visibly injured and/or very underweight) to see whether their mothers return to them or not.  If after this time they look like they need to be looked after Heike and her helpers will make the necessary arrangements.

If you can not get through to Heike then you can also call British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) on 01825 765546 (office hours) or 07787 433412 (out of hours) and they will be able to offer you advice and contact one of their other trained on Island medics to attend. 

What should you do if you come across a dead seal?

Sadly, we usually have a number of dead seals wash ashore, particularly over the Autumn and Winter months, when the weather has been bad.

Dead marine mammals (including seals) can be reported to the Marine Strandings Network on 0345 201 2626; this is a 24 hour number.  You will be asked to provide information regarding the location of the dead mammal and what you think it is (if you are able to ID it) and if you have managed to take pictures you will be given information on where to send the images.

Please do not touch dead seals, they have some very special bacteria which can be potentially harmful, particularly to pregnant women.

If you contact the Isles of Scilly Wildilfe Trust to report a dead seal our response will vary depending on the time of year and its location; we will also ask you to contact the Marine Strandings Network.

For further information please read our Dead Marine Mammals Policy

White Coat Seal Pup Images from IoSWT Image Library © IoSWT