Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


DOC calls for sightings of our Subantarctic neighbours

A potential increase in sightings of Subantarctic fur seals has DOC scientists asking members of the public to report any sightings of these long-distance travellers.

Subantarctic fur seals are “cousins” of the kekeno/New Zealand fur seal. They appear similar but have some obvious differences which make identification easy.

“The key signs to look for are a blunter/shorter nose and creamy-coloured fur on the throat and underside,” says Laura Boren, Technical Advisor at DOC.

“NZ fur seals will appear grey or brown and much more uniform in colour, while the Subantarctic variety have very two-tone colouration with the distinctive pale cream underneath.”

“Of course, the best way to confirm the species is to take a photo – from a few different angles if possible.”

Subantarctic fur seals are found typically on offshore islands throughout the subantarctic region including the southern Indian Ocean and southern Atlantic. While it is rare, they do occasionally make their way to Aotearoa.

In July 2021, a dead pup washed up at Kairakau Beach in Hawkes Bay. The pup had been tagged on Amsterdam Island in the Indian Ocean in September 2020, meaning it swam well over 8,000 km to arrive here. At approximately 1.5 years old, it is probable that it died of starvation.

“It’s tough for a young seal to make such a long journey. Many don’t end up surviving because they have usually used all their energy getting here. The luckier ones find plenty of food along the way and will turn up in good condition.”

While it’s sad to find a dead pup, reporting the sighting is still useful, says Laura. “This has allowed us to contribute valuable information to the French Subantarctic Programme, which manages Amsterdam Island.”

Recent sightings of other Subantarctic seal pups near Auckland, Rangitoto Island, and Whangamata have DOC staff wondering if they might be coming to our shores more frequently.

“It’s too early to say if we’re seeing a trend,” says Laura, “We need more information. Keep your eyes peeled and call our hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) if you spot one. If you can get photos to help with identification, please do. Remember to use your zoom and keep your distance as these visitors need to rest up after their marathon swim.”

DOC reminds people that at Alert Level 3 you should stay in areas readily accessible from your home and follow all guidance for safe recreation. More information here:


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Science Media Centre: Understanding DDoS cyber attacks – Expert Reaction

Cyber attacks have hit several New Zealand organisations this month, disrupting their online services. The Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks were the same kind of cyber attack that affected the NZX around this time last year... More>>

Financial Markets Authority: Spike in investment scam complaints since COVID

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) - Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko – is warning New Zealanders to be on the lookout for three unique types of scams that have been on the rise since the start of COVID-19. The warning comes as the FMA responds to a rise in complaints about investment scams and fraud lodged with the regulator in the first half of this year... More>>

Statistics: Strong export growth narrows current account deficit to $3B

The seasonally adjusted current account deficit narrowed to $3.0 billion in the June 2021 quarter, Stats NZ said today. The current account deficit was $2.2 billion narrower than the previous quarter due to an increase in value of goods exports (up $1.4 billion) and services exports (up $1.7 billion... More>>

Statistics: GDP rises in the June 2021 quarter

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 2.8 percent in the June 2021 quarter, following a 1.4 percent increase in the March 2021 quarter, Stats NZ said today. June 2021 quarter GDP was 4.3 percent higher when compared with the December 2019 quarter... More>>

Energy-from-waste: $350 Million Plant To Deliver Renewable Energy Considered

Investigations have begun into the viability of building an Energy-from-Waste plant that will safely convert 350,000 tonnes of waste, that would otherwise be dumped into South Island landfills annually, into renewable electricity... More>>

Olam: Confirms plans for commissioning of NZ dairy plant

OFI, a global leader in natural and sustainable food ingredient solutions, today confirmed plans to develop a new dairy processing facility at Tokoroa. It is now taking expressions of interest from potential farmer suppliers, employees, contractors, and general trade suppliers... More>>