Two protected fur seals with fish hooks in their mouths have been found on the same day on the coasts of Auckland and Northland.
Several people contacted the Department of Conservation after spotting one hooked seal on Omaha Beach last Wednesday.
DOC rangers Thelma and David Wilson initially thought it was a pup and intended taking it to a vet to remove the hook. But the adolescent male was too big to simply pick up. They used a net to wrap the animal before undergoing a tussle to get the hook removed without getting bitten.
The hook was a commercial tuna circle hook.
The other seal was found at North Port near Marsden Pt and the hook was removed by DOC rangers.
Beach-goers are asked to keep a lookout for these protected marine mammals. As the weather cools the seals head north for warmer waters.
July and August are also collectively known as the 'hauling out' season as seals, often weaning pups, come ashore to rest.
"I would expect people to start seeing a lot more seals around for the next few months,'' Thelma Wilson said.
"Generally they are fine. If people do come across them on the rocks or beaches, they should try not to disturb them.
"On narrow sections of coast and in rocky areas, try not to pass between the seal and the water. They can move surprisingly quickly, and if disturbed will usually make a dash for the water.''
Dog owners should keep their pets away, as seals regard them as a threat and dogs also seem to have a strong attraction to seals.
If you find a seal severely injured, entangled in marine debris or being harassed by people or dogs call the DOC hotline 0800362468
- © Fairfax NZ News
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