Herd­ing seals from the sky


Au­thor­i­ties have re­leased a video of trained han­dlers and he­li­copter crews herd­ing seals out of harm’s way as crews clear land­slips north of Kaik­oura.

The slip around the Ohau Point sanc­tu­ary is one of the most chal­leng­ing land­slides caused by the Novem­ber earth­quake. It stretches more than half a kilo­me­tre around the fur seal spot.

Crews kept the seal colony safe by ‘‘care­fully mov­ing pups and adult seals out of the con­struc­tion site’’, New Zealand Trans­port Agency earth­quake re­cov­ery man­ager Steve Mut­ton said.

Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion north­ern South Is­land di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions Ron Grose ear­lier said hun­dreds of seals sun­bathing on the rocks and fresh tarseal had been ush­ered away from con­struc­tion crews us­ing a he­li­copter’s ro­tor wash.

The mam­mals had adapted well to the new en­vi­ron­ment and to the road­works. De­spite be­ing rel­a­tively easy to move, some re­turned and had to be ush­ered away sev­eral times a day, he said.

Work­ers moved more than 100,000 cu­bic me­tres of de­bris be­fore in­stalling steel mesh on top of Ohau’s north­ern face, Mut­ton said.

The mesh, which would be in­stalled by the end of the month, would al­low crews to clear the rock­fall un­der­neath and start con­struct­ing a new 2.5km sea­wall and road on the north­ern side of the slip.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.