TWO seals found resting on beaches in the Great Lakes over the weekend, have prompted a reminder to the public to keep well away.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service says people should keep well away from resting seals for their own safety, and that of the seals.
NPWS Hunter Region Manager Robert Quirk said that over the weekend a juvenile leopard seal was found ‘hauled out’ at Bluey’s Beach, and also a sub-Antarctic fur seal was reported on Mungo Beach in Myall Lakes National Park.
“During the cooler winter months it is normal to find Australian, New Zealand and sub-Antarctic fur seals, as well as young leopard seals, hauled out on beaches along the north coast, resting between fishing trips,” Mr Quirk said.
“These animals have often travelled long distances following the ocean currents and fish supplies, and people are urged to give them some space and time to recover, before they again return to the water,” he said.
“As well as respecting the animal’s need to rest, people should keep their distance as all seals, particularly leopard seals, are dangerous. While the seal may appear to be docile, people must remember that they are wild animals and will react instinctively to defend themselves using their very powerful jaws and sharp teeth, if they are threatened.”
A ‘yawing’ seal in not indicating that it is tired. Seal gape with their mouths as warning, so people need to stay well away.
“Over a 40 metre distance, seals can outrun most people on sand, so it is important to remain well outside this distance for your own safety.”