Unlike whales and dolphins, seals are well adapted for periods on land and actively come ashore for rest, mating, pupping and nursing. At certain times of the year, it is perfectly normal for seal pups to be alone on the shore.
If you discover a seal pup:
1. Observe from a distance
Seal pups are often unafraid of people and will not attempt to move into the water if approached. The seal's mother, however, will not return to retrieve or feed her pup if humans are present. Human disturbance can result in the mother abandoning her pup. Keep your distance and keep dogs away from it.
2. Do not attempt to touch
Seals are wild animals and are capable of inflicting a painful bite that can result in a bacterial infection known as 'seal finger'.
Some diseases that seals have can be transmitted to humans – seal pox, brucella and salmonella.
3. Do not attempt to feed
4. Do not move into the water
Never move a seal pup into the sea – it is there for a good reason. For example;
Its mother may have left it there and will return later.
It may be a young grey seal pup. Grey seal pups are born covered in a white fur that is easily waterlogged. They stay ashore for the first few weeks of life until the white coat is shed.
It may be a newly weaned pup resting.
5. Contact Exploris
If the pup is obviously injured, sick or distressed contact Exploris on 028 427 28062.
Only seal pups that are genuinely orphaned, injured or sick are brought back to the hospital.