Seal season’s a busy time for rescue groups, but not all washed-up pups are in need – ABC News

Posted: June 20, 2021 at 12:57 am

It isseal season along the coasts of south-east South Australiaand western Victoria, a time of year whenjuvenile seals head to shore as their mothers hunt.

It means more seal sightingsand therefore one of the busiest times of the year for the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation (AMWRRO).

Founder Aaron Machado is asking for beach-lovers to take care.

"At the Coorongwe've already had one tragedy where a fisherman has been fishing most of the day, next to a seal and then a four-wheel drive doing great speeds over 60kph ran straight over the top of it," he said.

"That's unfortunately going to happen where you have vehicles on beaches and critters who come ashorelooking like a bit of seaweed."

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A not-for-profit based in Adelaide, the conservation and rescue organisation is open 24/7.

But Mr Machado is stressing the importance of learning when an animal is or is not in need of rescue or assistance.

"We've had probably in excess of 1,000, 1,200 phone calls for the past three weeks," he said.

"A lot of people may live in areas where they haven't seen a seal on the beach before ... but because you may not have seen it in the past, it doesn't mean it's not supposed to be there."

Returning to shore to rest after a few days at seais completely normal behaviour for the juvenile seals.

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They may need help, however,if they have an open wound, are tangled in debris, or skinny enough to see ribs and a dipbetween the shoulder blades.

If an animal appears in need, Mr Machado warns people to contact the professionals first, as seals can become aggressive and distressed.

"They could lash out make a phone call before you interact," he said.

Two main species can be spotted along the coastline the long-nosed fur sealand the endangered Australian sea lion.

It is an offence to harm or kill either protected animal and could result in a $100,000 fine.

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Portland Tourist Association presidentDennis Carrsaid now was the time to spot seal pups from a safe distancealong the beach at Cape Bridgewater.

"They're running along the foreshore there in the late afternoons usually around 3:00pm or 4:00pm," he said.

"They come in with the wavesand play aroundand surf the waves.

"Just remember there are reasons for the rules; it's to protect our sealsand all our fish life."

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Seal season's a busy time for rescue groups, but not all washed-up pups are in need - ABC News

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