Leopard seal takes a leap after visiting Kingscliff
THE leopard seal found on Kingscliff beach on Tuesday morning has headed back out to sea.
Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers member Ron Potter said the left the shore just before 11.30am.
It's still unclear how healthy the seal is.
ORRCA president Ronny Ling said his organisation was alerted to the seemingly exhausted creature about 7am.
Having come from the Antarctic, Mr Ling said the seal would have significantly depleted fat reserves.
"They use up a lot of their body fat," Mr Ling said.
Mr Ling said the main reasons a leopard seal would "haul out" onto the beach were to rest and to recover from injury.
He said ORRCA's experts hadn't identified any significant injuries on the animal.
Mr Ling said he was aware of 4-5 seal beachings on the NSW coast this seal season - which extends from June to October.
He said while it's not unheard of, it's not great to see seals so far from home.
"It is a concern, but we have had them so far north before," he said.
"We really are concerned about the seal's body conditions."
Mr Ling said if the seal were to be taken into captivity, it wouldn't be able to be re-released.
Initial report: 10.48am
MARINE experts are on scene in North Kingscliff where a leopard seal appeared overnight.
Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers member Ron Potter said the first call came in about 7am Tuesday morning by a woman going for her morning walk.
Mr Potter feared the seal was a bit worse for wear, having traveled quite a way out of its Antarctic habitat.
ORRCA president Ronny Ling said a creature of this kind couldn't be re-released after being taken into captivity for rehabilitation - so the first priority was seeing whether it would be able to survive in the wild.
Mr Ling said having traveled from the Antarctic, the seal had extremely depleted fat reserves and was being monitored by ORRCA members, National Parks and Wildlife Services and Seaworld experts.
"Leopard seals have really big teeth," Mr Ling said.
"It's important people stay back at least 40 metres."
Mr Ling said when left alone, the seal might make its way back to the sea alone.