An update on the Southern Elephant Seal at Pt.
I headed down on Friday with Adrian Howard from
Melbourne Zoo after receiving a call from Tehree Gordon of Jirrahlinga. When we
arrived at about 13:00 it was high tide and the animal was resting on the beach
at the end of Pt. Henry, next to the car park.
It appears to be a female; probably near maturity
as she's about 2m in length (mature females might be about 2.5m).
Apparently she's been around for two weeks or so
and she's been getting rather too much attention, dogs off leads, inquisitive
teenagers etc. I don't think she's in any real danger - the greatest danger for
those of us that wish to see these things in the natural environment is that
they will be frustrated into disappearing. She was quite nervous of the people
around her but otherwise seemed to be strong and healthy.
I popped in again yesterday but she was not on the
beach. On this occasion however it was at the end of a very hot day and at low
tide. As she's been there for a while, there is perhaps no reason to think she
won't stick around.
If anyone does happen to visit I'd been keen to get
another update posted. I would strongly recommend avoiding approaching any
closer than about 3m from her - this is more for your sake than hers. As the
site is highly disturbed anyway, an extra few people going and quietly watching
her is not likely to be a problem for her - in fact it usually reduces
disturbance for a short time.
Simon Mustoe - Director
AES Applied Ecology Solutions Pty Ltd.