Seal pups spotted swimming close to Verdis in Mumbles – but Coastgaurd issues warning about approaching them

Seal pups are increasingly being spotted around the coast of Gower, prompted warnings about approaching them.

Grey seal pups are born in late August and September around the Welsh coast, and have been seen in Mumbles, not far from Verdis, and other beaches and cliffs around Gower.

But coastguards in Mumbles are warning people to keep a distance from them, and never attempt to get them back into the water even if they appear stranded.

A spokesman said: “Just because a seal pup is alone and crying does not necessarily mean it’s in danger or been abandoned. Most of the time the seal pup will be fine. It is normal for the mother to leave a pup on its own for a short period.

“If you get too close to a seal pup this could scare the mother away and lead to the pup being abandoned.

“And seals may look cute but they give a nasty bite which will get infected with bacteria from their mouths. This has led to people being hospitalised”.

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Seals are covered in white downy fur for the first three weeks of their life – after which they begin to moult and look at bit patchy.

But they are not ready to swim, which is why people should not attempt to get them back in the water, no matter how well-intentioned.

Instead, people should keep a distance from the pups and keep dogs on a lead.

If a seal is injured however, help should be left to experts.

The best way to decide whether it needs assistance is if the pup has been observed for 24 hours and there has been no sign of the mother.

A healthy pup will look big and fat without a neck, whereas a malnourished pup will look thin and will have a visible neck. And if a seal pup has fully moulted and seems very small and lethargic it may be malnourished.

If a pup does need help people should contact the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) as they have trained volunteer medics in the local area who can attend quickly.

The 24 hour hotline number is 01825 765546.

More information is available here or from The Gower Seal Project and the Welsh Marine Life Rescue

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WalesOnline – Swansea