Appeal after people seen on seal haul-out at Forvie National Nature Reserve
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A warning has been issued over laws surrounding the seal haul-out at Forvie National Nature Reserve after four people were spotted in the area where access is forbidden.
It is closed from April to August and anyone caught on the Newburgh coastal area could face a £5000 fine or six months in prison.
Ythan Seal Watch has made an appeal after four people were seen on the seal haul-out on Saturday afternoon. Two were caught on camera which can be viewed on the group's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ythansealwatch
A spokesman for the Ythan Seal Watch team said: "There were four visitors in total on the seal haul-out on Saturday afternoon but we will be focusing on this two in the video in particular.
"The two visitors have ignored legal warning signs and a barrier fence to access and pass through the breeding grounds for a schedule one breeding bird and then accessed a Marine Scotland designated seal haul-out and started a stampede resulting in the entire haul-out being flushed from the beach.
"This is reckless harassment on a designated seal haul-out, which is a wildlife crime on Forvie National Nature Reserve, not to mention any other wildlife laws protecting the nesting birds which they may have broken.
"This is why we would like to identify these two visitors to Police Scotland. The visitors appeared on the haul-out at around 4.30pm.
"If any other visitors on Newburgh Beach or Forvie National Nature Reserve managed to get images of the visitors can you send them to us and we will publish them to try and identify them.
"We would ask that if anyone on Newburgh Beach witnesses visitors on the seal haul-out that you contact Police Scotland on 101.
"There are very serious laws in place to protect the wildlife on Forvie during the summer months.
"We would also like NatureScot and the police to advise the public of the laws and also to encourage reports to be made, much like what is currently being done by Operation Seabird. This is an initiative between local wildlife conservation bodies and the police and is being rolled out across the UK.
"Thank you again to the visitors who make reports like this and also contact us with concerns. You can contact us in the strictest of confidence when it comes to incidents like this."
Ythan Seal Watch can be contacted through its Facebook page.