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Disturbances are any action caused by humans that alter a Seal’s behaviour. This could be due to boats, kayaks, dogs, or even feeding wild seals by hand.

Feeding Seals:

Members of the public feeding wild seals is one of the worst, and least known, disturbances possible. When you feed a Seal, you alter its behaviour by letting it know that food is available from people. Not only will this make the Seal more comfortable around humans, but it will encourage the Seal to come back and try to get more food from people another day. Repeating this behaviour will lead to the Seal becoming dependant on humans for food. If then no humans are available to feed the Seal, this can lead to the Seal starving to death.


Boats and Kayaks:

Boats, jet skis, kayaks, paddle boards and any other water craft can also be a huge problem to wild Seals. When they get too close to seals, they can scare the Seals and cause them to dive off wherever they have hauled out into the water. The sudden shock of the cold water leads to an increased heart rate, which causes the seals to ‘steam’.

As well as this, motorised boars etc can catch Seals with their propellers and cause serious injury. Inhaling engine fumes also leads to slow organ failure and death.

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Letting dogs off lead in areas where Seals are known to haul out can not only be deadly for the seals, but your dog too. Seals have extremely sharp teeth and claws, and are known to defend themselves when threatened by dogs.


A particularly large threat to Seals is entanglement, This is where a Seal gets caught in man made objects, such as lobster pots or fish hooks. Most objects that seals get caught in are marine based, but some are just trash that is floating around the oceans. Entanglement cases can range from items being wrapped around a seal, to actual punctures into a Seal’s body. Currently, there is a big issue with ring frisbees getting caught around a Seal’s neck, and there is a big push to ban them in Cornwall.

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