Southern New Zealand is home to the worlds most endangered sealion. Most live at two locations on the Auckland Islands, 200 miles south of Stewart Island. But there is a small but significant population including breeding females on the Otago coast from Dunedin south to the Catlins coast. And at Port Pegasus on the south east coast of Stewart Island is a small sub colony of males, with an occasional female.
These large animals must have been highly prized by Maori as a protein source, and although the early European sealers did take them mainly for their oil, their skins were less favoured in comparison to the far more numerous “Fur Seal” . They are now totally protected
These animals are BIG. A big “beach master” male will weigh up to 450 kg, and up on his flippers almost looks me in the eye, with the females perhaps half that. And they are fast on land, almost as fast as I can run. How fast can I run… slightly faster than a sealion !!!. Prudence (and regulations) indicate keeping a good safe distance, however as they often favour lounging in quite dense cover ashore its quite common to literally trip over an animal a considerable distance from the shore. If chased I have discovered a handful of sand thrown in the face invariably turns the persuing animal away.
“Hookers” are animals with charisma. The females in particular seem to enjoy tactile contact, and in the colonies will form big heaps. The pups also will group in creches, although this is more as protection against the big harem bulls who will flatten single pups when charging towards an interloper.
Youg males in particular are great fun, as like youg males everywhere they are full of them selves, always pushing and shoving and would appear to egg each other on when a group came across us in an inflatable. This would involve closer and closer lunging passes, and occasionally even flippers up on the side of the boat peering in. Which as can be imagined was somewhat startling for our clients, and usually earned the animal a cuff around the ears with a paddle.
Thirty odd years ago a female gave birth at Mill Creek and for many weeks residents would find”Samantha” and/or her pup in their garden and a few years ago we had a young male take up residence in the village. On a couple of ocasions he was found inside the hotel, having taken advantage of an open door. He had great fun chasing the tourists along the waterfront, and at one stage took up residence under the library.
Nothing Quite Like a Good Scratch
[flowplayer src='http://focusingonwildlife.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/hooker.mp4' width=640 height=480 splashend=show splash='http://focusingonwildlife.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/IMG_2699-2.jpg' autoplay=false]
Leave a Comment
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- Israel leads the way using Barn Owls and Kestrels to replace Rodenticides » [1659 Views]
- POLL: Should spring hunting on Malta be stopped? » [1267 Views]
- Drone Captures Stunning Birds’-eye Video of Dolphin Superpod » [733 Views]
- POLL: Should the Faroe Islands’ whale slaughter be allowed to continue? » [725 Views]
- Europe approves vet drug that killed off almost all of Asia’s vultures » [640 Views]
- How a River Otter Can Bag an Alligator for Lunch » [627 Views]
- POLL: Should the US ban the import and export of tiger bone wine? » [621 Views]
- Komodo and its Dragons » [522 Views]
- HELP migrating birds WIN the “Race for Conservation” today » [471 Views]
- New York Backtracks on Plans to Eradicate Mute Swans » [432 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- POLL: Should the Slaughter of Grouse be allowed to continue? » [33600 Views]
- POLL: Should bear hunting be banned in the US? » [27298 Views]
- Massive Bird Slaughter Around the Mediterranean – Shocking Photos » [11876 Views]
- POLL: Should China’s shameful tiger farms be closed down? » [11339 Views]
- Petition: Stop Lion Canned Hunting in South Africa – Shocking Video » [7957 Views]
- POLL: Should the Faroe Islands’ whale slaughter be allowed to continue? » [7668 Views]
- POLL: Should the fox-hunting laws in the UK be relaxed? » [6975 Views]
- POLL: Should the Dolphin Slaughter in Taiji Cove be stopped? » [5229 Views]
- Trophy Hunting in Africa – Wildlife Slaughter in Graphic Images » [5168 Views]
- Wildlife Photography – Ethics and Conservation Issues? » [4886 Views]