PEOPLE are being reminded not to disturb seals resting on beaches or swimming close to shore.
The Department of Parks and Wildlife warning follows many recent sightings of seals on the Perth coast, including Quinns Rocks.
Swan region marine park co-ordinator Melissa Evans said it was common to see Australian sea lions and New Zealand fur seals along the Perth shoreline year-round, as well as sub-Antarctic fur seals and other species during winter.
“In the past few weeks, we have recorded lots of sightings of seals and sea lions swimming close to our shores, particularly near Quinns Rocks and Fremantle,” she said.
“In particular, people have reported fur seals spinning or twisting around in the water and sticking their flippers in the air.
“While it may look like the animals are in distress, entangled or injured, this is a natural behaviour known as thermo-regulating.
“The seal is controlling its body temperature by exposing different parts to the sun and sticking its flippers in and out of the water.”
Ms Evans said it was also common for winter cold fronts to bring seals on to Perth beaches.
“These seals haul up on beaches to rest – they are not ‘stranded’ and don’t require assistance from people,” she said.
“Generally they just need to be left alone to rest and will return to the ocean when they are ready.
“Members of the public are encouraged to view seals from a safe distance and to keep dogs away from seals and sea lions.”
If people see a seal with obvious body injuries they can call the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.