Information obtained from the tag of a dead New Zealand fur seal in Gisborne has assisted the Department of Conservation (DOC) in understanding more about the distribution and movements of seal around New Zealand.
The dead seal was reported by residents at Whangara beach to DOC yesterday. The tag was recovered from the dead seal and the remains buried. The information from tagged seals provide us with valuable data says Biodiversity Assets Ranger, Jamie Quirk.
“From the tag we were able to determine that the seal was a male, had been tagged in late January 2010 at Wekakura Point just north of Westport in the South Island and was between 17 and 18 months old.”
“He had obviously travelled some distance to make it to Gisborne in such a short life” says Mr Quirk.
This case and other reports of seals on local beaches serve as a reminder to the public that it is common for seals to come ashore between July and October to rest, particularly after a storm.
“Seals usually need rest, not rescuing. Seal pups have been weaned and are learning to make their own way in the world. They come ashore to rest before they head out to sea again for food.”
“Please be extra vigilant and keep dogs under control. Seals can move quickly on land and adult seals are capable of inflicting serious injuries to dogs. Parents should also keep their children away from seals” says Mr Quirk.
DOC relationship with seals is based on ‘minimum intervention.’ If you find a seal that is severely injured, or entangled in marine debris, or being harassed by people or dogs, call the DOC HOTline 0800 362 468.