Craig Nisbet with young visitors at the Tentsmuir NNR. Forth and Borders Area ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Wildlife watching and surveys

Responsible behaviour by the public

The Access Code says:

Watching and recording wildlife is a popular activity and falls within access rights. If you wish to intensively survey an area, make frequent repeat visits or use any survey equipment, consult the relevant land manager(s) to let them know of your intentions. Take extra care not to disturb the wildlife you are watching.

Other information:

The Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code will help you get the most out of your wildlife watching experience. A wildlife watching tour can be a great way to see marine animals and to learn more about them. Tour operators can gain accreditation though the WiSe training scheme, the UK standard for commercial marine wildlife watching.  This standard ensures operators know the best ways to watch wildlife without disturbing the animals.  Look out for the WiSe logo when you choose your tour or contact Wild Scotland for more information.

It will soon be an offence under The Protection of Seals (Designation of Haul-out Sites) (Scotland) Order 2014 to “recklessly or intentionally harass seals”. Read more information on the offence of harassment at seal haul-out sites. Follow the Marine Wildlife Watching Code’s advice on responsible behaviour near seals and their colonies. For specific queries please contact [email protected] or [email protected].

Responsible behaviour by land managers

The Access Code says:

Wherever possible, co-operate with people who wish to carry out a survey and allow the taking of small samples where this would not cause any damage.