SCOTTISH Natural Heritage (SNH) is advising people who see grey seal pups along the Berwickshire and East Lothoan coastline to keep their distance and ensure the youngsters’ mothers don’t abandon them.
Grey seal pups are born from the end of September until mid-December.
The young can’t immediately venture into the sea after birth, but stay on the foreshore for up to 30 days while their mother feeds them to build up their body fat and strength.
Any disturbance stresses the pup and mother, and the youngster may also move away from where the mother has left it. If approached, the adults may become alarmed and stampede towards the sea, resulting in pups being crushed or injured.
A spokesman said: “People are understandably fascinated by little seal pups. But we would ask people to keep themselves and their dogs a good distance away and never touch a seal pup. Even if a seal pup appears to be on its own, the mother may well be close by and may abandon her pup if it sees people nearby.”
Grey seals are found only in the north Atlantic, the Baltic Sea and the Barents Sea. They are one of the rarer seal species with a world population of only 350,000-400,000.
Around 36 per cent of the world population lives in the UK, and around 90 per cent of these live in Scotland