Seals under attack

September 15, 2021 BY

Seals often rest on Surf Coast beaches and dog owners must ensure their pets stay more than 50 metres from the native wildlife. PHOTO: DELWP

AUTHORITIES have issued warnings following reports of dogs attacking or disturbing seals at Breamlea and Torquay.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is reminding dog owners that dogs must be kept at least 50 metres away from seals and they face fines of more than $4000 if their dog attacks a seal.

DELWP has advised that the Conservation Regulator received reports of incidents at Breamlea, Torquay and Cape Bridgewater, near Portland, with an elephant seal badly bitten before retreating back into the ocean in one case.

Seals are often spotted resting at various beaches along the Surf Coast, particularly as they shed their hair which can take weeks, or rest and recover from exhaustion.

Seals can appear injured when they are actually not or if they have been bitten or scratched by other seals, wounds heal quickly and don’t need human help.

Beachgoers can also expect to see more young seals onshore around the coast as summer approaches.

Summer is the time when juvenile seals arrive at local beaches, after being separated from their mothers who have new pups to raise.

Dog walkers on beaches must look out for seals and observe the 50-metre buffer rule and any incidents of dog attacks should be reported to Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333000.

People must also stay at least 30 metres from seals on beaches and should never approach a seal.

Anyone who believes a seal is in distress, entangled in netting or in a dangerous location can contact the AGL Marine Response Unit on 1300 245 678 or call Wildlife Victoria on 136 186.

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