Keep a safe distance from the Merimbula seal

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) reminds Merimbula locals and visitors to keep a safe distance from seals, as footage emerges of a protective seal lunging at community members on Merimbula beach.

Australian Fur-seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus)

NPWS Wildlife Management Officer, Geoff Ross said this seal has been especially protective in the past and should not be approached by the public under any circumstances.

"This particular seal is known to be territorial and like all wild animals has the capacity to dangerous," Mr Ross said.

"As you can see by the footage, seals have the capacity to appear very aggressive towards humans if they feel threatened.

"Seals can move very quickly on land and will protect themselves if they feel threatened. Dogs must be kept on leads and people must not approach the seals.

"You should approach no closer than 40 metres to an adult seal when the animal is on land and not approach closer than 10 metres when in the water. When seal pups are present you should stay at least 80 metres away at all times, where possible, to avoid conflict with seal mums.

"Seals often appear in the Merimbula estuary at this time of year due to the rich food source available there," he said.

If you are concerned about this seal or any marine mammal please call NPWS or ORRCA, the licensed volunteers at the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia, on 9415 3333.

Fur seal populations are gradually recovering from hunting that began in the 1800's for their oil, meat and skins. More than 200,000 animals were hunted before they became protected in 1974 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

Contact: Polly Epov