Sea lion causes havoc in Bluff

12:41, May 14 2009
I'M CROSSING HERE! This New Zealand sea lion wreaked havoc early yesterday along Bluff's Marine Pde.

It stops traffic. And that's the problem with a plucky sea lion that appears to have made Bluff's Marine Pde home.

The sea lion has positioned itself on the seaside town's main drag for more than a month, playing chicken with traffic, lumbering after onlookers and generally making a nuisance of itself.

Her latest neighbour has caused Bluff Fisherman's Shore Station operator Meri Leask to become eco-warrior, chasing the sea lion off the road using a garden hose.

Mrs Leask, who was out on the street in her dressing gown about 7.30 yesterday morning, said she had lost count of the number of times she had forced the beast back into Bluff Harbour. "The darned thing keeps coming back."

The novelty value of the sea lion had worn off in Bluff as townsfolk became more concerned about the safety of people and traffic.

Signs at both ends of the strip the sea lion prowls tell drivers to slow down and beware after near-misses with cars, Mrs Leask said.

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Other moves, such as putting plastic netting where the sea lion was getting in had not deterred it either with it finding another way up on to the street.

However, plans were being made to evict the sea lion and she understood the Conservation Department was planning a meeting to work out how best to get it to move on, Mrs Leask said.

The mammals were known to be territorial and once sea lions formed an attachment to a place, they were likely to continue to come back, she said.

The Conservation Department was unavailable for comment last night.

jared.morgan@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times