Trav­el­ling seal takes hol­i­day on Te Poi farm

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Local News - REXINE HAWES

A farmer couldn’t be­lieve his eyes when he no­ticed a large mam­mal sun­bathing be­side an in­land stream on his prop­erty.

It must be a pig, Martin Miles thought. But on closer in­spec­tion, he dis­cov­ered a ‘‘big’’ fur seal.

The Waiomou River, which runs through his farm in Te Poi, is 86km from the Firth of Thames, the most likely en­try point.

‘‘I got about 15 me­tres from him, took pho­tos and then into the water he went and dis­ap­peared,’’ Miles said.

‘‘I thought that was the end of him.’’

Miles kept an eye out for his new friend ev­ery morn­ing, but the seal dis­ap­peared for a few days. Go on to the Mata­mata Chron­i­cle, Neigh­bourly.co.nz page to view Rexine’s video of the marine vis­i­tor. He turned up morn­ings later.

‘‘I’ve never seen a seal here be­fore, some pretty good sized eels and trout, but never a seal.’’

And while it’s an odd an­i­mal to find on a ru­ral farm, DOC says it’s ac­tu­ally not all that un­com­mon.

Seal pup wean­ing sea­son has be­gun and more of the mam­mals will be­gin to ap­pear along shore­lines, up streams and rivers. again a few

DOC has a hands-off ap­proach - while seals look cute, they can be ag­gres­sive.

‘‘Al­though very charis­matic, they are wild animals and should be treated with re­spect,’’ DOC said in a state­ment.

‘‘They can be very ag­gres­sive if threat­ened and it is also a breach of the Marine Mam­mals Pro­tec­tion Act.’’

DOC will only in­ter­vene if the an­i­mal is in danger, such as get­ting too close to a road, tan­gled in de­bris, be­ing ha­rassed at a very pub­lic beach or in­jured.

Miles says the seal is welcome to stay in the stream as long as it likes.

‘‘I love it. I hope he can stay for a while. He just can’t eat my trout,’’ he says, laugh­ing.

REXINE HAWES

It’s likely the tired seal trav­elled 86km from the Firth of Thames be­fore de­cid­ing to have a rest on Martin Miles’ prop­erty.

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