The Daily Telegraph

Plea to dog walkers after seal pup dies on Welsh coast


DOG walkers have been told to keep their pets away from the beach after a seal pup drowned.

The white seal pup died off New Quay, West Wales, which is suspected to be due to disturbanc­e by dog walkers. It is feared a dog scared the seal pup’s mother into the water, unable to protect her offspring who died in the water.

The pup was seen with a female at New Quay’s Dolau beach early in the morning last Monday. The seals then left the beach, but the pup was next seen in the water near the harbour wall, where it surfaced a couple of times before submerging and not resurfacin­g.

Melanie Heath, special areas of conservati­on officer for Cardigan Bay, said: “Seal pups need space and time to rest and grow. They are fed by their mothers for just three weeks before they have to fend for themselves.

“It is vital that during this time they are given space. Disturbanc­e can lead to abandonmen­t and death.”

Cllr Clive Davies, cabinet member for economy and regenerati­on, said: “It is very important to remember that these beautiful iconic creatures are wild animals so I urge everyone to follow our Ceredigion Marine Code and keep a distance to enjoy from afar. We are also warning dog owners to keep their dogs away from beaches where seal pups are resting.”

There are two types of seal found around the British Isles – the common (harbour) seal and the grey seal. Both are relatively common and in certain areas are seeing their numbers increase.

This population surge has been partly blamed for the reducing fish

‘Seal pups need space and time to rest and grow… before they have to fend for themselves’

stocks. According to the Mammal Society the common seal is less common in British waters than the grey seal, at about 55,000 compared with around 120,000 grey seals.

Around Ireland the two species are more equally represente­d: about 3,000 common seals and 4,000 grey seals.

Other species of seals, such as the harp, hooded and ringed seal are very occasional visitors to the British Isles, and any sightings of these species are extremely rare.

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