In one recent incident, a team of medics helping a wounded seal were welcomed with a volley of verbal abuse against them in Northumberland. The team were called out to help the animal which had been injured by an out of control dog in Druridge Bay, when they were abused by the same people who had earlier been abusing the seal.
According to the charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue, BDMLR, the incident in Northumberland is one of a growing number of such cases.
Reports of animal cruelty against seals were also reported to the charity in Essex, Norfolk, Kent and Yorkshire.
Over the Easter period, 5 incidents of seal abuse were reported to the charity on Good Friday alone, all of which had been before lunchtime.
During the spring period, juvenile pups, often separated from their parents for the first time mellow on the beaches of the UK as they rest, socialise and digest.
Often smaller than the adult seals, the younger pups are unable to defend themselves, maybe sick or injured, and are still subjected to abuse by people who find them.
Reports from Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex claim young people had been seen throwing stones at a young seal on the beach.
A post on the BDMLR Facebook page said cases across the country included seals being repeatedly kicked and chased into the sea by both dogs and people all along the east coast of England up to Northumberland.
One responder on Facebook said they had witnessed a dog attack a seal at Low Hauxley beach, with the owner unable to get control of their pet.
Fortunately, the seal managed to escape into the sea.
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Dan Jarvis, director of welfare and conservation at BDMLR, said: “It’s hard to say why some people think it is OK to stone seals, drag them around by their flippers or intentionally set their dogs on them.
“Clearly they do not care about the welfare of the animal and only what they can get out of doing such cruel actions.
“Some of these seal pups have actually already been weak, sick or injured and have been less able to defend themselves or escape back into the sea, which makes these attacks doubly harrowing to hear about and deal with for our team.”
In Britain, seals are protected through the Conservation of Seals Act 1970.
However, seals are still culled in Britain with several hundred seals killed in Scotland by the owners of fish farms in order to protect their stocks.
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While a license is needed to cull seals in the UK it has been noted seals can be culled all year round (including during the breeding season) and it has been claimed unregulated and unverified nature of seal culling in the UK means the true number of seals killed could be much higher.
Despite numbers dropping to only 500 in the early 20th century, it’s estimated there are now more than 120,000 grey seals in Britain, representing 40 percent of the world’s population and 95 percent of the European population.
Grey seals usually come ashore to breed from late September until December.
They prefer barren uninhabited islands and often go back to the same beach each year to breed.
They give birth to a single pup of about 14kg, which the mother sniffs to learn its scent.
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Pups are suckled five or six times a day for 16 – 18 days, more than doubling and their weight by the time they are weaned and have moulted their white fur.
Once adult, the seals can live for around 20 to 30 years, travelling around 100 miles in search of food and safe places to rest.
The BDMLR encourages anyone who witnesses attacks on seals or other wildlife to report them to the Police on 999 in an emergency or otherwise on the non-emergency number 101.