Respecting our furry friends

Daille O’Callaghan spotted a kekeno lying on a rock in the sun near Mauao on Sunday. Photos: Daille O’Callaghan.

As seal sightings increase near Mount Maunganui, conservation experts are reminding locals on how to behave around the much-loved furry creatures.

Daille O’Callaghan says she was walking around Mauao on Sunday when she spotted a brown NZ fur seal (kekeno) lying on a rock in the sun.

“It was on the rocks, on the eastern seaward side just below the walking track around the Mount,” says Daille.

According to Department of Conservation, fur seal’s breeding season takes place from mid-November to mid-January.

During this time, seals mate and females give birth to their pups. Females will have their pup between 4 and 6 years of age, and continue giving birth to a single pup every year until their death.

On seeing a seal it’s important to heed the following:

- Always stay at least 20 m from seals. Allow them space if they are active.

- Never walk between a seal and the sea. Head inland.

- Do not disturb seals. Don’t make loud noises or throw objects in their vicinity.

- Always keep dogs and small children under control and away from seals.

- Never attempt to touch or handle a seal. They can be aggressive if threatened.

- You can also catch diseases from seals through their skin, sneezes, coughs and barks, and you may also carry diseases that can transfer to them and make them ill.

- Do not feed any seal.

-Fur seals may look sick when they’re actually just resting.

Call the DOC hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) if you see a kekeno that is:

- severely injured

- entangled in marine debris

- being harassed by people or dog


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