Visitors reminded of guidance with record number of seal pups at Forvie.

22 December 2023

Visitors to NatureScot’s Forvie National Nature Reserve (NNR) are being reminded of guidance to protect seals with the reserve home to a record number of pups.

This season five pups have been spotted at the north-east reserve, which hosts Scotland’s largest seal haul out at the mouth of the River Ythan.

Staff are delighted with the site record and are asking visitors to help protect the vulnerable young pups by following guidance to avoid disturbance.

Signs have been erected asking visitors to stay on the reserve’s Dune Trail, which is marked blue on the reserve leaflet, during this sensitive period. People who would like to see the seals and pups are also encouraged to view the colony from a safe distance on the south side of the river at Newburgh.

Forvie NNR reserve manager Cat Reid said: “Many people will no doubt be keen to get out and about for a walk during the holiday period, and Forvie is a great place to visit and enjoy nature this festive season.

“With a record number of pups being born at the reserve this breeding season, we want to remind visitors that it’s really important that seals are not disturbed during this critical period. Pups may be abandoned by their mothers or crushed as seals stampede into the water to escape from people.

“We’ve put up additional signs at the reserve car park and on site and are asking visitors to stay on the Dune Trail to avoid any disturbance.

“For those who would like to see the seals, the safest and best place to try and spot a pup is on the south side of the River Ythan from the Beach Road car park in Newburgh. So far, the pups here seem to be doing well, and people following the guidance will continue to help them do so. We’d like to thank visitors for their help in keeping the seals safe.”

As a designated seal haul-out site, it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly harass a seal at Forvie. If anyone thinks they have witnessed a wildlife crime on the reserve, they should contact Police Scotland on 101.