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 aproteinsource, 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:
Leave a Comment
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should the trophy hunting of giraffes be banned? » [1250 Views]
- Tiger family photo surprises scientists » [953 Views]
- Poll: Do you agree that shooting pheasants is good for the countryside? » [781 Views]
- POLL: Should the kill quota on cougars be increased in New Mexico? » [774 Views]
- Poll: Should UK towns and cities be allowed to clip seagulls’ wings? » [718 Views]
- Extreme birdwatching: Twitching in war zones » [664 Views]
- Blue-Bearded Helmetcrest Rediscovered in Colombia, Photographed for First Time » [521 Views]
- POLL: Should spring hunting on Malta be stopped? » [458 Views]
- Rembrandt’s monkey: good news for Africa’s newest primate » [457 Views]
- Peregrine falcon found shot dead at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s headquarters » [448 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- » POLL: Should the ban on fox hunting be relaxed in the UK? [10680 Views]
- Petition: Stop Lion Canned Hunting in South Africa – Shocking Video » [4159 Views]
- POLL: Should the trophy hunting of giraffes be banned? » [3847 Views]
- POLL: Should lion canned hunting be banned in South Africa? » [3655 Views]
- Komodo and its Dragons » [3654 Views]
- POLL: Should bear hunting be banned in the US? » [3429 Views]
- Poll: Should hunting of black bears in Florida be allowed? » [2964 Views]
- POLL: Should the slaughter of wolves in British Columbia be banned? » [2936 Views]
- Join the 1st World Giraffe Day and help save these gentle giants » [2872 Views]
- POLL: Should the wolf hunting contest in Idaho be stopped? » [2677 Views]