Seal back in the sea after taking Taranaki farm tour

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014
seal
ADVENTURE SEEKER: Department of Conservation ranger Andy Johnston with the wanderlust seal that found its way onto a Pihama property on Friday.

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An adventure-hungry seal is back in the briny after spending almost two weeks inspecting farms around the Taranaki coast.

The medium-sized bull seal, weighing in at 70 kilograms, was 11.5 kilometres inland when he was found in a creek on a farm in Te Kiri, near Pihama, on Friday.

The department of Conservation was first notified of the wandering seal on January 15 when he was spotted on Pihama's Patiki Rd, about 6km from the coast.

Ranger Callum Lilley said the seal had swum up a small creek but was gone the next day.

Mr Lilley said the seal then turned up "a bit closer" to the coast but off the main road by the creek.

"We got there quickly but it had gone again," he said.

When the seal showed up at Karina French's farm on Friday, she initially thought it was just her dogs playing by the creek.

But closer inspection revealed it was a seal.

"It was sitting at the creek and kind of growling at the cows," she said.

So Ms French gave DOC a bell to notify them about the travelling seal.

When the seal was found on Ms French's property, creek water levels were down to about 15 centimetres and drying up, leaving the water-loving mammal high and dry.

It also looked like it had lost some weight, Mr Lilley said.

Together with the help of colleague Andy Johnston, the seal was manoeuvred into a sack, with the corner cut out for breathing.

"He poked his nose out so it was a good muzzle and that helped us transfer him to a super sack before his release at the beach," Mr Lilley said.

The seal was last seen heading offshore.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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