Seals and seal pups: please keep your distance

PDF Document

Pacific Marine Mammal Bulletin #3

As human interactions with wild marine mammals increase, the risk of disturbing or injuring the animals also increases.


Seals spend about a third of their time on land. They come up on shore on a daily basis to rest, socialize, escape predators, give birth, nurse young and bask in the sun to keep warm.

If you come across a live seal please keep your distance as seals on shore are easily disturbed, and can in inflict a serious bite if agitated.

Seal pups

Seal pupping season occurs during spring and summer, a peak time for boaters and beach goers. Each year people find baby seals, commonly known as seal pups, on shore and pick them up thinking they have been abandoned. The mothers may simply be out foraging,or frightened away by human presence and will shortly return to reclaim and tend to their pup.

Should you encounter a lone seal pup please keep your distance and do not attempt to remove the seal as it may not need rescuing and your actions can endanger its life.

Seal pup

Seal pup

How you can help

  • DO NOT touch, move, disturb or harass the seal.
  • DO NOT try to feed the seal.
  • DO NOT pour water on the seal as they are often on shore to dry off.
  • DO NOT force the seal into the water.
  • DO stay a safe distance away from the seal.
  • DO keep pets and children away to avoid harmful interaction.
  • DO observe the condition,size,and location of the seal.
  • DO call the Fisheries and Oceans Canada hotline if you see a seal being harassed or harmed.
  • DO call a seal rehabilitation centre (listed below) if you believe the seal is sick, injured or abandoned.

To report a marine mammal disturbance or harassment:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Observe, Record, Report (ORR) line


To report a seal that you believe is injured or abandoned:

Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue (MMR)

 604-258-SEAL (7325)

Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre


For more information, call:

General Inquiries


Fisheries and Oceans Canada Pacific Region

Cat. No.: Fs23-454/2005E ISBN: 0-662-39388-0 • © Her Majesty the Queen In Right of Canada, 2005

Date modified: