Certain species of wild mammals are protected under their own legal provisions.
In Great Britain, legislation, which extends to territorial waters, prohibits certain methods of killing seals, which include using poison or firearms other than a rifle. A person taking or killing a seal will not be guilty of an offence if a disabled seal is taken solely for the purpose of tending it and then returning it to the wild after treatment, or if a seal is accidentally killed as the result of an otherwise lawful action. It is not an offence to kill a seal for the purpose of preventing damage to fishing nets or tackle or if the seal is so disabled that there is no chance of recovery. The killing, injuring or taking of grey seals and common seals in their close seasons is prohibited; the close seasons relate to their respective breeding seasons. Extension to the close season can be made on a temporary basis by Order. There is currently a total prohibition on the killing, injuring and taking of common seals in Scotland and a more limited geographical restriction concerning grey seals. Licences can be granted by the appropriate Minister, which permits a person to carry out an otherwise prohibited act for the purpose of science, education, zoos, to reduce surplus numbers and to prevent damage to fisheries. In Northern Ireland, there is no individual legislation which protects seals, however, grey and common seals are listed on the appropriate Schedule of the main legislation.
Specific legislation for seals is in the Conservation of Seals Act 1970. The close season for seals in (some areas of) Scotland was extended by the Conservation of Seals (Scotland) Order 2002.