A New Zealand fur seal pup stopped in for a nap in Warkworth this month.
The animal was found sleeping just off the riverside track near Rivendell Place.
Department of Conservation ranger David Wilson took the seal to Warkworth vet Ross Lynch, where it was given the ‘all clear’ and released at Brick Bay.
“It was in good condition,” David said. “It probably just wanted a quiet place to rest, but because it was so close to a public track there was a chance it would be harassed by dogs.”
The seals breed in the South Island and the pup was likely born last year and weaned earlier this year.
There have been numerous sightings of young seals around Auckland this winter, including one that stopped at the
Viaduct and another made it to Middlemore Hospital. Some experts say the sightings point to a rebound in seal populations, which were decimated by hunting in the 1700s and 1800s. In 1978, fur seals were fully protected by the Marine Mammals Protection Act, and they have continued to grow in numbers ever since, with studies showing population growth at 25 per cent a year.