A conservation company is asking beach users to have more respect for wildlife after receiving reports that dog walkers have disturbed seals on the beach at Findhorn Bay.
The Findhorn Village Conservation Company has received a number of reports of seals being disturbed on the sandbanks at the back shore at low tide.
Witnesses have reported people and unleashed dogs approaching seals and forcing them from their resting place on the sandbanks back into the sea.
Findhorn Bay is an internationally important habitat for common and threatened species.
The bay is part of the Moray and Nairn Coast Special Protection Area, a designated RAMSAR site, a national Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Local Nature Reserve.
A spokesperson for the conservation company said: “We would like to bring this matter to beach users’ attention to help raise awareness and encourage respect for the local wildlife.
“While it is understandable that people may want to get a closer look when the tide is out, it is essential that people keep a respectful distance and ensure that dogs are kept under control so as not to cause unnecessary stress to the seals at rest on the sandbanks.”
Findhorn’s population of Grey and Common Seals are protected under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994, and The Protection of Seals (Designation of Haul-Out Sites) (Scotland) Order 2014 also applies.
the Findhorn Bay Nature Reserve has a website giving more information about the flora and fauna of the bay http://fblnr.org/, and detailed information on the legislation protecting seals can be found on the Nature Scotland Protected Species web page at https://www.nature.scot/…/prote…/protected-species-seals.