Dorset Seal Sightings

01 Common seal - Julie Rowland

Common Seal © Julie Rowland 

Seals are charismatic, intelligent marine mammals that are frequently encountered along the Dorset coast. 

The UK is home to the grey seal and the common or harbour seal, both of which can be spotted in Dorset. 

Despite being the UK’s largest carnivorous mammal, seals still face a number of threats from entanglement to disease and boat strikes. 

Find out more about grey seals and harbour seals.

Download our Seal ID PDF here.

Dorset Seal Sightings

Dorset Wildlife Trust is collecting information about seal sightings to get a better understanding of how many are seen, how frequent and their location. 

We also have a Dorset seal photo identification catalogue. Every seal has a unique set of patterns in its fur that it will retain for life and can be individually identified through cataloging the photographs. This helps us to understand if seals are returning to the same areas and whether any are resident in Dorset. We can also share the photo ID catalogue with other recorders to help us learn more about seal movements. 

Grey seal by Sarah Hodgson

Grey seal © Sarah Hodgson

Harbour seal by Julie Hatcher

Harbour seal © Julie Hatcher



What to do if you spot a seal? 

Please let us know if you spot a seal in Dorset and don't forget to include photos. You can report your sightings and submit photos using our online reporting form

Alternatively, you can let us know by email: 

Remember, seals are wild animals. Keep your distance or remain out of sight to prevent distress. Download our Code of Conduct.

For any welfare concerns please check with British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

Seal Code of Conduct Dorset Wildlife Trust

Meet some of our Dorset seals...


Fiver is a female grey seal named because of the £5 marking on the left side of her neck. She also has a distinctive scar on her nose. Fiver was the first seal to be added to the Dorset Seal photo ID catalogue and is a regular visitor at Portland Bill.
Image © Sarah Hodgson 


Wolf seems to be a very curious juvenile seal and has been witnessed interacting with kayaks, even trying to clamber on board. Her name comes from the ‘Wolf’ shaped marking on the left side of her neck. Wolf has turned up at various locations along the Purbeck coast, from Studland to Dancing Ledge. 
Image © Allen Westerby


Bonnemine is a female harbour seal who was rescued as a pup in France and was subsequently released in Mont St Michel Bay in 2007. Bonnemine was fitted with a satellite tag which showed her crossing the Channel to Dorset, arriving in Lyme Bay. The last transmission from her tag was from Poole Harbour in 2008 where she is still seen today.
Image © Janet France-Sargeant

04 Fiver - Sarah Hodgson (2)

Wolf by Allen Westerby

Bonnemine by Janet France-Sargeant (2)


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