At this time of year young seals are dispersing and older animals are returning from Bass Strait, so the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) reminds people to give these wild animals ample space.
NPWS marine fauna coordinator Geoff Ross said NSW was now moving into leopard seal season, and like all marine mammals, they are a protected species.
A leopard seal hauled up at Kianga Beach, south of Narooma a couple of years ago and they’ve been seen on other district beaches over the years.
“We commonly see one or two leopard seals each year, and having come a long way at the mercy of ocean currents, they arrive weakened and debilitated,” Mr Ross said.
“Last week we had multiple leopard seal haul outs which is to be expected as populations gradually recover from past hunting practices.
“Like all seals, this beautiful Antarctic species hauls out on beaches and estuaries to rest and recuperate as part of their natural behaviour.”
Mr Ross reminded people to keep dogs, children and the wider community away from hauled out seals to protect the safety of all involved.
“Seals are magnificent creatures and it’s fine to admire them from a distance, but people and pets must not approach them.
“We see more and more seals each year, so it’s important to live alongside them harmoniously.”
Supporting volunteers from the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) and educating the community are ways the Office of Environment and Heritage empowers the community to care for local environments, including wildlife.
If you are concerned about the welfare of a seal or any other marine mammal, call your local NPWS office or the ORRCA hotline on 9415 3333.
If you see a hauled out seal:
Keep at least 40 metres away from the seal for your own safety
Keep dogs under control and away from the seal, for the safety of both animals
Do not attempt to herd the seal back to water, it will leave when it is ready
Do not throw water on it or try to feed it.