Sealio the Auckland seal’s adventure has come to an end after the animal was safely moved from the city to the beach.
The seal was found napping at Portland Creek in Waitaramoa Reserve around 3pm on Wednesday, a place where seals are known to frequent regularly.
The snoozing seal has attracted attention from members of the public with more than 20 people crowding around to have a look.
On Thursday the crowd returned to see the seal the group decided to name ‘Sealio’.
“After a few nights it’s clear this kekeno/seal is really loving its time on land,” DOC acting operations manager for mainland Auckland Molly Hicks said.
“The kekeno appears healthy and well, however, with the growing attention the kekeno has been garnering, DOC and Auckland Zoo staff decided it would be safer and less stressful for the kekeno to move it to a quieter coastal habitat.”
Auckland Zoo staff moved the seal with help from members of the public who formed a line to stop Sealio from running onto the road. Sealio was later released at Muriwai Beach.
“We’d like to thank the local community for reporting the seal and treating it respectfully over the last few days.” Hicks said.
DOC told Newshub on Wednesday it is very normal for fur seals to haul out on land to rest and enjoy the sun. They urged the public to watch them from a distance and for those with dogs, to keep them under control and away from the animal.
DoC takes a hands-off approach with seals and will only intervene if the animal is in danger, or in high-traffic urban areas. If you see a seal that is severely injured, being harassed, or in obvious danger, call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).
The seal sighting comes less than one month after another rogue seal was found in the big smoke.
After making a pitstop at a KFC drive-through, the seal waddled into someone’s property before it wrangled with police and DOC staff.
Eventually, the seal was then taken to west Auckland and released back into the wild.
‘Silly seal season’
This time of year is called ‘silly seal season’ when the animals tend to explore more unusual areas, DOC said.
Between May and September, young kekeno/seals and male seals of any age can be spotted as they leave their breeding colonies, explore, and rest. This includes newly weaned pups finding their way in the world.
DOC said fur seals are exploratory by nature and exhibit some strange behaviours when hauled up on land. People may feel concerned seeing young pups alone, or seals regurgitating, sneezing, coughing, or crying – but it’s all a part of their normal behaviour.
“Fur seal populations are recovering quickly,” Marine Science Advisor Laura Boren said.
“This means people need to be prepared to encounter seals anywhere around our coastline, even in areas where they haven’t seen seals before, and particularly over the winter months.”