Baykeeper loves to receive reports on the wonderful wild things in our Bay. Andrew McCutcheon has followed up his Shovelnose Lobster report with finding a young Fur Seal Arctocephalus pusillus at Elwood.
Andrew reports: I first saw the young Australian Fur Seal on the afternoon of Friday 29 May floating about 50 metres offshore between Point Ormond and the mouth of Elwood Canal. As there was little movement I thought it may be dead, but it did lift its head to breathe and raise a flipper to prove it was alive. After watching it for about 15 minutes I moved on.
The following day (over 24 hours later) Andrew found the seal resting ashore near the entrance to the canal.
On closer inspection it appeared sluggish, not very alert to my presence and had trouble keeping its eyes open. The animal appeared to be sick with some seepage from the eyes, but didn’t appear to be starving. I estimated it as just under a metre long and weighing 25 – 30 kg, and old enough to fend for itself rather than having been so young that it may have been prematurely separated from its mother. On checking the next morning, the seal had gone, hopefully back into the water to catch its next meal.
Although individual seals occasionally visit the top of the Bay, and sometimes into the lower reaches of the Yarra and Maribynong Rivers, they’re very rarely found ashore.
Can anyone shed more light on this event, or have another seal story to share?