New seal on road stops traffic

22:53, Dec 12 2013
Dirk de Vries
FINDS SEAL, DELIVERS: Department of Conservation area compliance officer, Dirk de Vries rescues a lost seal from the Moutere Highway on Wednesday.

A navigationally challenged seal found itself staring down traffic, including a large truck and a police car before being snaffled into a Department of Conservation net on the Moutere Highway.

The seal was initially spotted in a field near Redwood Rd yesterday morning by a passing truck driver who along with help from resident, Sharlene Edwards tried to keep the overly curious animal from getting run over.

‘‘At first we tried to round it up like a cow, before it decided to bolt across the road,’’ Miss Edwards said.

LUCKY ESCAPE: A young seal examines its new surroundings in a ditch on the Moutere Highway.

This was the second incident in as many days for DOC area compliance officer Dirk de Vries who had also captured another young and hopelessly lost seal on Salisbury Rd in Richmond at 6.30am on Tuesday.

Mr de Vries estimated the seal found on the Moutere Highway to be about 10 months old.

‘‘Female seals have a pup once a year, so they kick these guys out and then get ready to breed again,’’ Mr de Vries said.

He also said that was a sign that seal populations in the area were increasing and that the seal had most likely come from Tonga or Pinnacle Island before mistakenly making its way up a nearby culvert.

Typically DOC had a policy of not intervening, letting nature take it course instead, however if the animal was interacting with humans or making a hazard of itself, it will get involved, Mr de Vries said.

The seal was promptly captured by Mr de Vries before being released in an estuary.