AN animal loving volunteer says more needs to be done when it comes to educating seasiders on how best to support stranded seals.

Rachel Scott, 30, has been a marine mammal medic, for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, since last October, after taking a course alongside husband Barry, 39.

Over the past 12 months, the passionate pair, who live in Columbine Gardens, in Walton, have responded to numerous calls about seals washing up on beaches.

Jess says they are usually young, and venture onto the beach because they have a swam a long way and are need of a rest.

Just last week, for example, a cheeky and adorable seal appeared on a sandy spot in Frinton, where it lapped up the attention of human admirers.

It was initially placed back in the sea before immediately deciding to leave the chilly waters in favour of relaxing on the beach.

Rachel, however, says this was the wrong thing to do, and could have actually further endangered the animal’s health.

“If you are able to stay with the seal, give it plenty of space and let people know that help has been called, then do that,” said Jess.

“Please do not return seals back into the sea, as they may be exhausted and just need a rest, so, instead, they need to be taken to a safer place to rest.

“They may even need to be taken to wildlife hospital for treatment and rehabilitation, away from people, dogs, and the incoming tide.”

After being alerted to the stranded pup, Jess and Barry securely and safely moved the seal into a cage, before transporting it to a treatment centre.

For the most part, Jess says residents and seasiders usually approach the situation of a seal on a beach in the correct and cautious way.

But she is now urging authorities to consider pushing for better awareness and education with regards to stranded seals.

She added: “Absolutely, more should be done to educate seasiders, for their own safety and for the seals.

“The main issue is people do not know who to call for help, and a lot of people worry that the seal cannot survive out of the water for that long.

“But, like all wild animals, seals can carry diseases and if they feel the need to defend themselves, they could bite, so it’s actually best to keep some distance.

“We have had quite a few call outs recently though, and the local people have been amazing and really helpful.

“It is great when people really want to help and care about the welfare of the seals.”

If you see a seal resting on the beach, please call British Diver's Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546.