The juvenile leopard seal found washed up on Broken Head Beach yesterday.
The juvenile leopard seal found washed up on Broken Head Beach yesterday.

Sick seal a long way from home

BEACH walkers were confronted with a rare sight when they came across a large leopard seal washed up on Broken Head Beach yesterday .

The 18-month-old seal is a long way from home. Leopard seal colonies are found mainly around the South Australian coastline and in Antarctic waters.

The sick seal was first spotted on Wednesday at Boulder Beach, near Lennox Head, when the Ballina-based Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR) responded to a call-out.

Rochelle Ferris, of ASR, said it was believed to be the first time this particular breed of seal had strayed so far north.

“It is out of the ordinary,” she said. “In this case it's a juvenile leopard seal, which are a very vulnerable species.

“We have set up a perimeter around the seal to protect people and their dogs from it. They can be quite vicious and have huge teeth.

“They can also carry tuberculosis, which is a public safety issue.”

Ms Ferris plans to notify the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, but it will probably be experts from Sea World on the Gold Coast that care for the distressed animal.

She said the seal's spine and bone structure were protruding and the animal was displaying signs of being unwell.

“We are keeping watch and waiting to see whether it moves from that same stretch of beach,” she said.



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