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20 December, 2018

SNH reminder: how to enjoy watching the Ythan seals without disturbing them

SNH reminder: how to enjoy watching the Ythan seals without disturbing them: Seals-103

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is reminding people not to get too close to seals on the Ythan at Forvie National Nature Reserve.

Annabel Drysdale, SNH’s Forvie nature reserve manager, said:

“If you fancy a beach walk at Forvie over Christmas, please go to the beach at Newburgh on the south side of the estuary to view seals. From there, you can enjoy the best views and won’t risk disturbing them while they haul out.

“We all love to watch wildlife, but we also need to protect it. If you come across seals on the beach, stay at least 150 metres away and if one or two heads come up, that means you’re close enough.”

“Young seals are now beginning to appear all around on Scotland’s coast and while they learn to feed themselves it’s important to let them rest as much as possible.

Here are a few more tips to watch seals safely and responsibly:

  • When watching seals on the beach, be quiet, avoid sudden movements and be responsive to their behaviour. Back off if it looks like the seals may enter the water.
  • Be especially cautious if there are pups present; seals can move surprisingly quickly and they may bite if they feel threatened. Never separate pups from mothers, as females can be particularly aggressive when they have young. Leave lone pups alone: the mother may only be away foraging for food and if you approach or touch the pup while she is gone she may abandon it on her return. 
  • Don’t crowd or encircle seals. If you are in a group, keep the whole group to one side of the animal, preferably the landward side, so that the animal still has access to the water.  



Contact SNH media officer, Vicki Mowat, on 0131 316 2659 or (Tuesday to Friday) or the SNH main press office on 0131 316 2655 (Monday).


Contact information

SNH Media

Notes to editors

Forvie National Nature Reserve is one of about 45 NNRs in Scotland. NNRs are special places that look after some of the best of Scotland’s nature on behalf of everyone who lives or visits Scotland, and they provide unique opportunities to visit, enjoy and learn more about Scotland’s nature. For more information, see .

Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help everyone understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at SNH media is also on Twitter at 

Scottish Natural Heritage is Scotland's nature agency. We work to improve our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. So that all nature in Scotland - our key habitats and landscapes, all our green space and our native species - is maintained, enhanced and brings us benefits. It is the job of all of us to achieve a balance in the sensitive management of our natural world in order to maintain and enhance biodiversity. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

'S e Dualchas Nàdair na h-Alba buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Tha sinn ag obair airson ar n-àrainneachd nàdarra ann an Alba a thoirt am feabhas agus a h-uile duine a bhrosnachadh gus barrachd cùraim a ghabhail dhi. Gus am bi an nàdar air fad ann an Alba – ar prìomh àrainnean is chruthan-tìre, ar n-àiteachan uaine gu lèir is ar gnèithean dùthchasach - air an gleidheadh, air an leasachadh 's a' toirt bhuannachdan dhuinn. 'S e an dleastanas a th' oirnn uile co-chothrom ann an stiùireadh faiceallach ar saoghail nàdarra a ruighinn airson bith-iomadachd a ghleidheadh 's a leasachadh. Airson an tuilleadh fios, tadhail air an làraich-lìn againn aig no lean air Twitter sinn aig




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