PEOPLE are being urged to give seals space if they come across them on the Dorset coast as part of a new government-backed campaign.

The ‘Give Seals Space’ campaign aims to reduce the impact human disturbance has on the creatures.

The Seal Alliance is warning that getting too close to seals can lead to their injury and death, even up to several months later.

The UK is home to 38 per cent of the entire world’s population of grey seals and 30 per cent of the European subspecies of common seals, yet these precious mammals face an extensive list of threats including climate change, toxic pollution, entanglement, collisions with vessels, plastics and other marine debris. Of these threats, disturbance from human interaction is a significant and growing problem.

Seals are vulnerable to any kind of human interactions, either deliberate or unintentional.

Sue Sayer, of the Seal Research Trust, said: "If a seal is looking at you, it has been disturbed, so please move further away. Use your camera and binoculars, stay quiet and out of sight. If we follow these simple rules we can enjoy watching seals for longer and without harm - a win–win for both people and seals."