[MARMAM] Leopard Seal Help

Yuin Khai Foong ykfoong at doc.govt.nz
Mon Jun 6 19:10:20 PDT 2016


Dear Colleagues,

I am a Ranger in New Zealand based in Auckland.  We have a bit of an ongoing event with a Leopard Seal that I’m hoping someone from the International community can help us out with.

In June last year we have had a Leopard Seal around the Hauraki Gulf (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hauraki_Gulf) .  We have been sending out the message that in time it will feel the pull of the Ice Shelf and head back down south.  This has not been the case with this Seal and it has been sighted frequently for over a year within the Gulf.  Of late it, all sightings have been deep inside the Waitemata Harbour (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waitemata_Harbour) bringing it in direct proximity to New Zealand’s most populated city, Auckland.  We have put signs up and warnings.

It seems to have been heading back to Westhaven Marina (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westhaven_Marina) reasonably regularly.  The staff there have been excellent at reinforcing that it’s unlikely that the Leopard Seal will harm people provided people give it space.  However, they have had a few incidents of it hauling up on Piers within a metre of people (staff) and giving them a bit of a fright.  The concern with that scenario is that it could scare a child.  It has also been seen following the Marina service boat (a small inflatable).

We haven’t had a situation like this in New Zealand as far as I can see.  Has anyone out there had a similar experience?  What did you do?  Any ideas/recommendations welcome.

Thanks heaps
Yuin Khai Foong
Senior Ranger, Biodiversity—Kaitiaki Matua, Kanorau Koiora
Department of Conservation—Te Papa Atawhai
DDI: +64 9 446 1265 | M: +64 27 236 4401 | VPN: 7196
North Head Office
18 Takarunga Road | PO Box 32 026, Devonport 0744
T: +64 9 445 9142 0726
Conservation leadership for our nature Tākina te hī, Tiakina, te hā o te Āo Tūroa
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