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Pirinoa Pupils excited by seals

14 March 2008

Pirinoa Pupils excited by seals

Pirinoa Primary School hosted Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Jenny Whyte on Tuesday 4 March to discuss NZ fur seals, or kekeno, which breed on the South Wairarapa coast, near where many of the pupils live.

Seal skulls a hit! (Amanda Cosgrove, DOC)

The Wairarapa rookeries at Cape Palliser and Honeycomb Light are the only breeding sites on the mainland North Island, although fur seals were widespread and numerous throughout the country before the arrivals of humans in New Zealand.

About 30 students attended two sessions where they viewed photos and seal skulls and a video of seals swimming in the wild. Jenny Whyte was impressed by their enthusiasm for learning about seals and helping to conservation them in the local area.

“It’s great to see how they respond to information about behaviour around the seals. It’s like having 30 young rangers ensuring that fur seals are looked after in the local area” says Jenny.

The highlight of the visit was viewing and handling the some large and quite smelly leopard seal and elephant seal skulls on loan from Victoria University. “Although these species are rarely seen this far north, being able to see, smell them and touch them gives the kids an appreciation for them and their mana in the wild” said Jenny.

For more information on NZ fur seals please go to


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