The elderly man attacked by a seal on a New Plymouth walkway today is in a stable condition in hospital.
A trail of blood was left on New Plymouth's Coastal Walkway this morning when the animal lunged at the 85-year-old man, who had been walking near the Belt Road Motor Camp at about 8.15am.
He was left with a serious leg injury and was treated by St John paramedics at the scene.
He was then transported to Taranaki Base Hospital in a serious condition.
Armed police provided a protective barrier while the man was treated.
According to the Department of Conservation an adult female New Zealand fur seal can weigh up to 50kg and a male 150kg.
Eyewitness Kevin Harvey, of New Plymouth, said the seal also lunged at him as he ran past.
He saw people attending a man on the ground and thought it must have been a cyclist who had come off.
''There was blood on the ground everywhere and obviously [the seal] had attacked the walker.''
He threw a few stones at the seal in an attempt to scare it back onto the rocks.
Harvey said he's seen seals on the walkway before.
''They usually come towards you a bit then back off, but he just kept on coming.''
The Department of Conservation recommends the following to ensure your safety around seals:
* Always stay at least 10m away.
* Do not disturb seals. Don't make loud noises or throw objects near them.
* Keep dogs and children under control around seals.
* Never attempt to handle seals as they can be aggressive.
* Do not drive vehicles any closer than 50m from seals.
* Flies are often attracted to the natural secretions around the eyes of seals. This does not mean the seal is sick and is not a cause for concern.
* It is natural for mothers to leave their pups alone while they return to sea to forage. Please do not disturb or move solitary pups.
* If you are concerned about the safety of a seal, please contact the Department of Conservation immediately on 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).
- Taranaki Daily News
Should travellers be restricted from renting cars if they have not been in the country longer than 24 hours?
View marriage and birth notices from around the region
View obituaries from around the region