Rural crime team patrols to protect seals in Pembrokeshire

grey seal pup

Increased patrols are being carried out at a popular area of Pembrokeshire to help protect seals and their pups during breeding season.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Dyfed-Powys Police will be paying regular visits to Pwll Y Wrach to ensure the seals are being left alone.

The move follows reports of stones being thrown at an area where seal pups are congregating, as well as numerous reports of people getting far too close to them when taking part in different water sports.

There have been numerous sightings of female seals in and around the Witches Cauldron and this week a dead pup was spotted floating inside.

The Pembrokeshire Coast Park Authority has put temporary signs in place at some known pupping locations to raise awareness of the issue with people who may not be aware their chosen location is popular with seals.

PC Roger Jones, of Dyfed-Powys Police seconded to Natural Resources Wales, said:

“We have growing concerns for the welfare of the seals who are using the area to breed and have pups at the area known locally as the Witches Cauldron.

“We urge people to take heed of our request to stay away from the area to give seals the space and time they need. Getting too close to the seals could frighten and disrupt them and remember, seals are protected, and it is a criminal offence to intentionally injure, kill or remove them from their natural habitat.

“We will be carrying out extra patrols to protect the seals and I urge people to report any concerns they have to police by calling 101 or reporting online, and follow advice on what to do if you see seal activity.”

If you see any signage, or you see signs of seal activity, please take a moment to do the following:

From land:

  • Keep off beaches where pups are present.
  • Keep quiet.
  • Keep dogs on leads.
  • Keep a low profile – below the horizon line to make it harder for seals to see you.

From water:

  • Do not land on pupping beaches from 01/08 to 30/11.
  • Avoid creeping up on seals or approaching them bow on.
  • Keep your distance and keep at least 50m* away from seals unless they approach you.
  • Allow seals an escape route and avoid boxing them in.
  • Do not seek to swim with, touch or feed seals.
  • Noise disrupts. Keep speed below 5 knots on arrival and departure. Keep viewing time to 10 minutes. Move away if you observe disturbance, such as rapid swimming to and fro, sudden panic diving, and re-entry into the water.

If a pup is alone on a beach it usually means that its mother is nearby in the water. Make sure you keep well away so she can return to her pup when she needs to.

If you witness seals being disturbed or mistreated please call police on 101.

If you believe a seal is in distress, please call Welsh Marine Life Rescue on 07970 285086 or the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

Codes of conduct for people to follow when exploring the Pembrokeshire Coast can be found by visiting the Pembrokeshire Marine Code website.

For more information on the seals along the Pembrokeshire coast visit: Seals - Pembrokeshire Coast National Park