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Look but don’t get close

Wildlife sightseers heading down to see a large southern elephant seal resting at Redgate Beach near Margaret River are being urged to maintain a safe distance to protect the animal’s welfare.


Department of Parks and Wildlife officer Clare Forward said to make sure the seal remained comfortable and safe it was important that visitors stay at least 30m away and ensure children are supervised.


“The animal might look cute and harmless but it is a wild animal and as such, it may be dangerous if approached or provoked,” Ms Forward said.


“To maintain the safety of both visitors and the seal, dogs must be kept away and people are advised not to get between the seal and the water.”


Ms Forward said the southern elephant seal was currently moulting and it was not unusual for the species to stop on mainland Australia as part of this process to drop their hair and skin from January through to April.


“The moulting animals may stay ashore for up to four weeks, during which time they do not require assistance from people, when they are ready they will return to the water,” Ms Forward said.


The southern elephant seal is the largest seal in the animal kingdom and gets its name from its huge size and the large proboscis of the adult males, which is used to make extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during mating season.


Parks and Wildlife staff will continue to monitor the seal.