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Public asked not to feed or disturb seals at Mandurah

NZ fur seal with hook caught in mouth
NZ fur seal with hook caught in mouth Craig Lester

People are being urged not to feed several New Zealand fur seals making regular visits to the Mandurah foreshore.

Department of Parks and Wildlife marine park coordinator Melissa Evans said it was important the seals did not become dependent on humans for food.

“These are wild animals whose normal behaviour is to hunt for octopus, squid and fish,” Ms Evans said.

“One of the seals in Mandurah has been seen with a hook caught in its mouth and fishing line around its flippers, indicating it could have been seeking an alternative food source.

“Seals are smart creatures and can quickly lose fear of people, beg for food and become dependent on handouts from humans.

“These animals can then lose the ability to hunt for themselves, become aggressive and may harass people for food.”

Ms Evans said feeding seals in and around popular fishing areas increases the chance of a seal attempting to steal fish from fishing lines and becoming dangerously entangled in fishing hooks, lures and line.

“To protect wild seals, observe them from a safe distance, dispose of your fishing equipment thoughtfully and please never feed them.”

Seals often visit WA beaches to rest. They may be seen taking a dip in the water and repeatedly waving their flippers in the air.

“This behaviour may appear as though the seal is in distress, but it is how they regulate their body temperature,” Ms Evans said.

“We ask people encountering seals on the beach to refrain from pouring water on them, pushing them out to sea or attempting to rescue them.

“People should also be mindful that diseases carried by seals and sea lions could also potentially be transferred to humans or dogs, so they should maintain a safe distance from the animal at all times.”

New Zealand fur seals vary in size from 30-50kg and 1.5m long for females to 125kg-plus and 2m long for males.

To report any sick or injured animals, contact the department’s Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055

 

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999

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