Sunday, 8 September 2019

Drones warning over breeding seals in Pembrokeshire

6 September 2019

Breeding seals are being disturbed by drones flying near them, experts have warned.

The grey seal population in Pembrokeshire breeds from August to November, but a lack of awareness has led to them being scared into the water with the potential not to return.

Research by Swansea University has so far found drones with four propellers are most likely to cause problems.

It has prompted calls for users to learn about flying them near wildlife.

Paul Renfro, who works with the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, said a ban would be difficult to enforce but "acting responsibly" would make a difference.

"Plan ahead, know where the sensitive areas are and keep your distance," he said. "If the seals are starting to notice you, then you're too close.

"Their eyes almost bulge and you can see the stress in their face. When they are starting to look at you then that's close enough."

Pembrokeshire has one of the biggest breeding colonies of grey seals in south west Britain.

While numbers have been struggling in other areas, one of the highest ever annual birth rates was recorded for seals pups last year in west Wales.

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