Conduct signed and sealed
Firstly, the track is in need of repair after heavy rain. The repairs may not be done for a couple of weeks sopeople are urged to be cautious, particularly after heavy rain. Part of the track, just after the footbridge, can be flooded and the track is slippery.
That said, visitors are asked to stick to the track not wander off around the stream and inhibit the seals’ way upstream.
While people think the seals are waiting to be photographed, this is not so he says; they must be respected and given space.
While there are signs clearly explaining how to treat the seals, this is largely being ignored.
Incredibly, Cowan has fished out six balloons over the past week which people have thought the seals would like to play with.
‘‘Please do not take balls, toys or anything else for the seals. They are playful, inquisitive, but please do not try to humanise them.’’
Also found at the side of the stream have been cans of sardines and tuna, even a piece of ham roll.
‘‘. . . the seals are only drinking milk while they are at the waterfall. Once they start eating fish they will be at sea hunting.’’
The volunteer programme run in past years to protect the seals and educate visitors starts again later this month. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer is asked to call the DOC office on 03 319 5714 to register and pick up a training pack. The first training session is at the DOC office, Ludstone Rd on Wednesday May 14, 6pm till 7.30pm.
The plan is to cover the busy period between Thursday or Friday and Sunday each week, but if more volunteers come forward the site will be manned on other days too.
Volunteers, working in pairs, are likely to be required to cover one shift a fortnight.
Cute but wild: The Department of Conservation is warning people not to interfere with the seal pups at Ohau Waterfall.