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News and media statements

All Parks and Wildlife Service news items and media statements produced after mid-August 2019 are available on the new departmental website .

Elephant seal returns to Sorrento Beach

The elephant seal that has been resting at Sorrento Beach in the past few days has returned to shore after swimming out to sea in the early hours of this morning.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife today advised that the seal returned at around 11am this morning.

Department staff and Surf Life Saving volunteers have cordoned off an area around the seal to ensure public safety and allow the animal to rest without any interference.

Parks and Wildlife Senior Officer Rick Dawson said the department was asking people not to use camera flash and torches within the vicinity of the seal after 10pm at night.

“We have noticed that the seal does not react well to bright lights at night as it is possibly interfering with his ability to be able to rest at night,” he said.

“We also would like to remind people not to approach the seal, as the sub-adult male weighs an estimated 2000kg and can be unpredictable and may react aggressively if approached.”

In 2014, four southern elephant seals were reported coming ashore on the south-coast and one sub-adult male reported on Carnac Island.

Southern elephant seals are large ocean-going mammals with males having a large proboscis (nose). They can weigh up to 3000kg. They are generally found in waters around subantarctic islands and while it is unusual for one to haul out this far north, there have been previous occurrences. Records go back a number of years with one particular incident of a large male that hauled out in the Exmouth area and remained there for five years.

To report sightings and/or injured wildlife please contact Parks and Wildlife Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.