Posted by: The ocean update | July 15, 2015

Seal pups killed by cars (New Zealand)

A New Zealand fur seal pup emerges from under a parked car near the Point Kean seal colony. Last month two pups were killed at the car park. Jody Weir

A New Zealand fur seal pup emerges from under a parked car near the Point Kean seal colony. Last month two pups were killed at the car park. Jody Weir

July 15th, 2015 (Sven Herselman). Staff at the Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute want motorists to take extra care around the car park at the Point Kean seal colony in Kaikoura after two pups were killed there.

The institute’s research director Dr Jody Weir says one of the pups killed on the weekend of June 20 and 21 was obviously run over by a car. While the exact cause of death for the second pup wasn’t definitive it was also likely to have also been caused by car, she says.

“There was a lot of blood. It is very sad.”

More fur seal pups have been using the car park and surrounding area this winter. This has probably been as a result of the rough seas and low water levels in the nearby pond where they normally gather. Jody says.

At this time of year the pups were still dependent on their mother’s milk and while the adults go to sea to feed for several days, the pups stay near the shore or on land.

They use their time to develop their motor skills through play, but seek shelter under rocks and bushes and have lately been going under stationary cars. “[They are] likely assuming it is a safe place to hide and rest,” Jody says.

She is urging drivers to always check under their cars before driving off at Point Kean and to drive very slowly and carefully in the area. A safer option would be to park at Jimmy Armers Beach and walk the extra 200 metres, Jody says.

“More fur seals and more visitors has created a situation where there is an increase in interactions between seals and people.  Although the issue is currently concentrated at Point Kean, there are seals being killed by cars on [State] Highway 1 as well.”

Motorists are also asked to be particularly vigilant when there are large sea swells and high tides as these conditions sometimes force the animals closer to the road.

“We need to find ways to share habitat with the seals or there will be increasing conflict. Remember they are wild animals and as a protected species we must give them plenty of space,” Jody says.

Source

Advertisements

Categories

%d bloggers like this: