Concern for injured fur seal

This seal, which spent almost an hour sunning itself on rocks at the base of Point Perry this week, is believed to be badly injured.

UnderWater World’s Rob Mort, after seeing photos taken by Chris McCormack, said the seal looked to be distressed.

“There is most definitely a wound, probably from a shark attack,” he said.

“It’s impossible to say when it happened – it could have been months ago but this animal has most likely hauled out (left the water) because of its injuries.

“Based on the photos, it looks like a New Zealand Fur Seal but it’s impossible to tell if it’s a male or female.

“It’s difficult to say if it’s a pup or an older animal because older animals which have been compromised in any way are often stunted in their development.”

Mr Mort said it was unusual for New Zealand Fur Seals to be found this far north as their Australian breeding colonies were usually off the south coast of NSW and off Victoria.

“It’s unusual for them to be up here. It has happened in the past but not regularly.”

Onlookers said there were originally two seals but only one left the water.

“He was very, very cute,” said Broome visitor Samantha Johnson, who spent 15 minutes watching the animal.

“It looked like he had a few battle scars and was sunning himself on the rocks but then he dived into the water and we didn’t see him again.”

“We think he was injured – he was just sort of lolling around,” said a Coolum woman who enjoyed the spectacle from the lookout high above the rocks.

“We were all very excited when we saw him him doing roly-polys in the water.”

Under the direction of local EPA officers, an UnderWater World team went to Point Perry but was unable to find the seals.

Mr Mort asked beachgoers to keep an eye out for the seals and to immediately report their location to the EPA Animal Stranding Hotline on 1300 130 372.

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