A young fur seal, nicknamed Elvis, found himself a patient at Taronga Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital after being washed ashore at South Curl Curl during Sydney’s furious storms.
In hospital, Elvis received the best of care. He was fed fresh fish and given a round of antibiotics before his release yesterday.
“He was initially a bit hesitant to get in the water, but eventually he dived in and started swimming strongly,” said Taronga’s Senior Veterinarian, Larry Vogelnest.
Seal pups are vulnerable at the best of times. While their mothers are out at sea feeding the pups are left on land. Pups will usually stay with their mothers for up to a year before becoming fully independent.
WATCH: Elvis being released 5 kilometres out to sea.
“He’s one of the lucky ones. He was pretty feisty when he first arrived at the hospital, which was a good indicator that he’d be a suitable candidate for short term care and release,” said Larry.
Volunteers at ORRCA, a research and rescue centre for marine mammals saved 62 seals during the month compared with 26 during the same time last year. They believe this is due to a successful breeding season among fur seals combined with the storms, “which really smashed the little seals around” said Shona, Vice president at ORRCA.
Australian fur seals are extremely important in their ecosystems. It is important experts protect them where possible. However, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) asks that if you come across a wild seal that has come ashore to give it space and to not intervene.
People can report injured seals to NPWS by calling 13000 PARKS (13000 72757) or ORRCA on 9415 3333.