Man attacked by seal expected to recover

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 13:21 01/06/2014
New Plymouth seal attack
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ

SEAL ATTACK: The seal which left an elderly man seriously injured after an attack on New Plymouth's Coastal Walkway this morning.

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The elderly man who was bitten by a seal in New Plymouth is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.

Arthur Lester, 85, was walking on the Coastal Walkway yesterday morning when the animal lunged at him and bit onto his calf, causing a severe laceration.

He underwent surgery yesterday to clean out the wound.

Arthur is expected to stay in hospital for a couple of weeks to ensure the wound did not get infected, son Greg Lester said.

His father's fitness was the reason he survived the attack, Greg said.

"He's got the heart rate and blood pressure of a 30-year-old."

Arthur walked his 25th Taranaki Daily News Half Marathon last year.

Department of Conservation spokesman Darryn Ratana said the seal was still in the area today.

DOC had put up danger tape 100m either side of where the seal is to warn walkway users, Ratana said.

The seal had moved northwards and was now just below the Aquatic Centre complex.

"He's just enjoying the sun and having a bit of a rest.

"We're hoping he'll go out on the high tide this afternoon."

Ratana said the seal was fine where he was as long as people stayed clear.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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