Calls for tough measures to protect North Wales seal colonies from being disturbed
Calls have been made for tough measures to be put in place to protect seal colonies in North Wales from being disturbed.
The comments were made by Aberconwy MS Janet-Finch Saunders after the North Wales Seal Research Organisation revealed that up to 80 per cent of its rescues involve seals in trouble not for medical reasons, but because they have been disturbed by people.
The intervention also comes after 200 seals occupied a beach at the Little Orme, Llandudno, in the midst of the breeding season.
Videos shared on social media have shown people getting too close to the colony.
In a written question to the Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change, Mrs Finch-Saunders said: “Further to the finding by North Wales Seal Research Organisation, what discussions has the Welsh Government had to determine whether stricter laws are required to combat seal disturbances by humans and dogs?”
Commenting on the situation, she added: “Disturbing seals can induce a stampede by scaring others into a domino effect, often resulting in a needless gash to their bellies or claws ripped out by the rocks.
“To avoid such a panic, we must all remember to keep a distance of 100m from hauled out and pupping seals.
“Having helped to design a local code of conduct in recent years, I continue to believe that education is the way forward.
“Given that penalties can be handed to dog owners under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, recent social media posts have underlined the need to review the situation to understand whether these powers are being adequately enforced.”
During the previous Senedd term, the MS led conservation efforts with Conwy County Borough Council, Mostyn Estates, Wildlife Trust Wales, Natural Resources Wales, and local residents to introduce a marine code of conduct for recreational boats launching from council-owned slipways.
Mrs Finch-Saunders also over saw an educational sign introduced on the Little Orme to protect local seal colonies.
Anyone who spots an injured seal is asked to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com