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Crabeater seal visits the Hutt river

Crabeater seal visits the Hutt river

This morning the Department of Conservation translocated a crabeater seal from the Hutt River, which unfortunately died in transit.

The seal was first spotted on Saturday morning in the Hutt River by a member of the public, who sent us a video of the seal swimming. From the video, it appeared to be in a healthy condition and the species was unclear.

Late on Sunday night we received another call, reporting a seal that looked unwell. At 9am this morning we went out to investigate.

The seal was a crabeater (Lobodon carcinophagus), a species which mostly found in Antarctic waters and has only rarely appeared on New Zealand shores. The animal was lethargic and skinny and had some healing wounds along its side.

As there are no facilities in the region that can manage adult seal rehabilitation, we decided the best option was to relocate it from the Hutt River to the Wainuiomata coast, a safe, quiet place where it could recover naturally. Sadly, the seal’s condition was too poor, and it died in transit.

This crabeater seal appears to be the same one that was seen at Karitane Beach in Otago on 2 July and then at Birdlings Flat Beach in Canterbury on 7 July. It is the 11th crabeater seal to be reported on New Zealand shores, and 6th to be found in the Wellington area.


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