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]
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- » [2554 Views]
- If You Care About Birds, Watch This 4-Minute Video » [1180 Views]
- Trophy Hunting in Africa – Wildlife Slaughter in Graphic Images » [1121 Views]
- » [1105 Views]
- » [1096 Views]
- » [952 Views]
- 6 Reasons You Should Be Drinking “Bird-Friendly” Coffee » [895 Views]
- » [823 Views]
- » [791 Views]
- » [731 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- POLL: Should the Slaughter of Grouse be allowed to continue? » [32422 Views]
- POLL: Should bear hunting be banned in the US? » [25930 Views]
- Massive Bird Slaughter Around the Mediterranean – Shocking Photos » [11393 Views]
- POLL: Should China’s shameful tiger farms be closed down? » [9685 Views]
- Petition: Stop Lion Canned Hunting in South Africa – Shocking Video » [6709 Views]
- POLL: Should the trial cull of badgers go ahead? » [4362 Views]
- Trophy Hunting in Africa – Wildlife Slaughter in Graphic Images » [4337 Views]
- Wildlife Photography – Ethics and Conservation Issues? » [4269 Views]
- Cyclist Has Amazing Encounter with a Mountain Lion in Los Angeles » [3849 Views]
- Egypt is the Worst Place to Be a Migratory Bird – Shocking Video » [3586 Views]