Please remember that seals are wild animals and will defend themselves if they feel threatened.
Follow these simple guidelines from the Department of Conservation when watching seals for your safety and that of the animals:
- stay at least 20m away
- don’t disturb seals by making loud noises or throwing things
- keep dogs and children away
- don’t feed the seals
- never attempt to touch a seal
If you spot the leopard seal to report it to leopardseals.org via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, with the date, time and location of the sighting noted.
It is an offence under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 (MMPA) to disturb, harass, harm, injure or kill a seal. A dog owner whose dog attacks a seal could face prosecution. Anyone charged under the MMPA with harassing, disturbing, injuring or killing a seal faces a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment or a fine to a maximum of $250,000.
The DOC emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) is staffed 24/7.