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Dolphin Marine Conservation Park

Juvenile NZ fur seal in recovery

A New Zealand fur seal is recovering at Dolphin Marine Magic after being rescued from a beach at Crescent Head last weekend. The seal is a juvenile female and has been named “Lunar” and was rescued after being found exhausted on a beach, with a large wound on her shoulder.  “It was touch and go the first night and if we hadn’t been able to get a drip into her, I don’t think that she would have made it. We are not completely out of the woods yet but we are in much better shape than we were” said Dolphin Marine Magic Veterinarian, Dr Duan March. This is not the first time a seal that DMM has nursed back to health. “We see these young animals around this time every year, and the first port of call is always to give them a couple of days to see if they can fend for themselves. It is important that the public call Dolphin Marine Magic or the National Parks and Wildlife Service if they do see a seal. Don’t rush in and try to rescue it, as despite looking very cute, these are wild animals, with sharp teeth and can do a lot of damage if cornered” said Dr March.  “The important thing with these animals is once they are stabilised, we need to make sure that they do not associate people with fish. Otherwise they become habituated and may pose a threat to people in the future.” So, whilst it may seem like tough love for a little seal, Lunar will be fed from behind a fence for the next couple of weeks, and only see people when she needs medication. The Marine Care team at DMM are focused on getting some weight back on her and once Lunar has regained her strength, she will be released off the Coffs Harbour coast and hopefully reintegrate back into the wild, but she has a long way to go to find a friend. “The only breeding colonies for these guys in Australia are located in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, so I don’t think that we are seeing a migration up the east coast. I think these animals are being picked up in some pretty intense weather systems off the shores of New Zealand and transported over here that way” said Dr March. The large wound on her shoulder may support this idea, as it looks like Lunar has had a close call with a creature of the deep. With some time and some TLC, hopefully Lunar will be ready for release within a couple of weeks.

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