Wildlife watching and surveys

Information about access to record and watch wildlife.

Responsible behaviour by the public

The Access Code says:

Recording and watching 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.

Marine surveys:

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.

The Protection of Seals (Designation of Haul-out Sites) (Scotland) Act 2014 designates individual seal haul-out sites around Scotland, at which it is an offence 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.

Last updated: