DoC says fur seal near Porirua train station is okay

Fur Seal, similar to the one spotted near Porirua train station.
Fur Seal, similar to the one spotted near Porirua train station. Photo credit: Getty.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) is asking people not to worry or disturb a lone seal spotted hanging out near the Porirua train station, Wellington.

In a post shared to the Facebook group Vic Deals, the NZ fur seal/kekeno is spotted sitting in shallow water enjoying the weather.

According to the Facebook uploader, the seal has been there since Saturday and appears to be wounded.

After receiving multiple calls from people about the seal, DoC is reassuring residents there is no need to worry.

DoC duty officer Bill Fleury told Newshub it's great the community cares so much about the mammals but DoC takes a "hands-off" approach to seals.

"They are capable and resilient and given time and space, they usually find their way home."

Fleury said DoC normally intervenes if a seal is severely injured, entangled in marine debris, or is in a dangerous place such as on or near a public road.

But, since seals are wild animals and highly territorial creatures carrying infectious diseases, DoC advises people not to approach the seal.

"Do not actively seek out the seal and be sure to keep a good distance at all times.

"If you do find yourself closer than 20 metres from a seal, stay calm and quietly move away."

Fleury adds that people should not get between the kekeno and the sea, small children should stay at a safe distance, individuals should not touch or feed the seal and those walking their dog nearby must keep their canine on a leash, under control and away from the seal.

All seals, sea lions, dolphins and whales are protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978. It's an offence to harass, disturb, injure or kill marine mammals.

Anyone charged with harassing, disturbing, injuring or killing a marine mammal faces a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment or a fine to a maximum of $250,000.

If a seal is in danger people should phone if there is a genuine need for attention, such as a seal being harassed by people or dogs. 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

For more information on what to do if you find a seal/kekeno click here.

For general information on seals and sea lions click here