Thursday, August 27, 2009

seal pup dies after ferry ride

Well meaning but ultimately lethal.

You find a young skinny seal in picton

You decide the seal needs help

As luck would have it you are booked to travel for 3 hours across to Wellington in the ferry

Brilliant - put the seal pup in the back seat for the duration of the voyage, take it to the vet - all good

All good?

"DOC staff were contacted by Pet Vets in Silverstream after a member of the public brought a seal in from Picton, "apparently on the ferry". A vet nurse at the clinic said the young seal was skinny and emaciated, and its well-meaning captors thought it had been abandoned by its mother.

DOC biodiversity manager Peter Simpson said it was "definitely not" sensible to take a seal in the back of a car across Cook Strait.

"When you see a seal out on its own it's because its mother's kicked it out, told it to get a job."

The stress of being removed from its environment and being kept in a car boot during the journey meant the seal had to be put down.

"Most seals reported as injured or sick are just resting and should be left alone," Mr Simpson said.

It was not uncommon at this time of year for young pups to strike out on their own and people should not assume they were in trouble.

"This is the breeding and weaning season, so mum's kicked them out of home because she's got another one on the way. So they go off on a bit of an overseas experience."

Seals were known to turn up in drains, back yards and in the middle of the road.

"During storms Cook Strait is a bit like a washing machine and seals can become tired. The seals come ashore for a bit of rest and sleep," Mr Simpson said.

Seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act 1978 and disturbing one can be punished by up to six months' jail and fines of up to $250,000.

Well meaning but lethal.

I've seen people act very strange around fur seals like they don't get that they are wild animals. Tourists certainly move fast when one of them takes notice of them, no more, "Can I give it a cuddle, please mr seal"

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