Who doesn’t love a snooze on the beach?
Park rangers at Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria, Australia were greeted with the rare sight of a subantarctic fur seal just having a bit of a kip on its shores last weekend.
While fur seals are found widespread in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the first time one has visited the national park, located on the very southern tip of the state of Victoria. Only 36 have visited Victoria in history, and the pup, which is estimated to be just one year old, is the fourth sighting this September alone.
“It’s unclear why so many sightings have occurred in the last two weeks, normally there are two to three sightings between May and September each year,” Jonathon Stevenson, a Parks Victoria park ranger, explained via email.
“It could be random chance or maybe there is a problem with their food supply, forcing the juveniles to travel further afield at this time of year.”
Although they are listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN with a population of about 300,000, climate change might be increasing pressure on these seals and impacting their habitat. If this little fella had something to worry about, it’s that he was alone.
“Once they are weaned, they leave their mum for good, as she is already about to give birth to her next pup. So this little fellow would have been on his own. Mum was probably about 2000 kilometres (1242 miles) away near Macquarie Island,” Stevenson added.
If you ever do encounter a seal on a Victorian beach, you’ll have to stay at least 30 metres (98 feet) away as required by Victorian law.
If you have a dog, it has to be kept 50 metres (164 feet) away to minimise disturbance to the seal and should be kept on a lead — although dogs are prohibited from national parks like Wilson’s Promontory anyway.
“Seals and dogs are fairly closely related in the evolutionary tree and as well as dogs causing greater disturbance, they can pass on diseases to seals or contract diseases from seals,” Stevenson said.
Besides, who likes being woken up during a nap?
[h/t Huffington Post]