October 2 - 8, 2016: Issue 283

Seal Rests On North Avalon Rockshelf after shark attack

Seal resting on North Avalon Rocks - Thursday September 29, 2016  - Photo by A J Guesdon
Although this news service does not run images that may distress, the poor seal shown above had been attacked by a shark on Thursday and a large wound could be seen on its other side. It came ashore to rest and to feel safer.

If you see a seal that looks like it is in distress or has a wound please notify ORRCA on 02 9415 3333.

This seal seeking shelter is a reminder that we share our saltwater environment with all that lives here and need to follow guidelines put in place to look after them as much as ourselves. 

Seals are protected in New South Wales. It is an offence to interfere with or approach within 40 metres of an adult and 80 metres of a pup seal or sea lion. Maximum penalties for individuals include fines of up to $110, 000. 00 and imprisonment for two years.

Fortunately Shona Lorigan, Vice President of ORRCA, her husband and son were quickly on the scene and asked people to keep their distance and that one couple, taking their dog for a walk off the leash along the rockshelf, come back and take another route that afternoon. They stayed until dark.

ORRCA Volunteers stayed at North Avalon until 7 p.m. on Friday as well but the seal did not come ashore again.

On Saturday afternoon Shona said the seal had been seen further south near the Eastern Suburbs and ORRCA Volunteers were keeping an eye out. 

"The State Government and Taronga Zoo have been informed but at this stage the best we can all do, should this fully grown seal swim north again, is give it that minimum of 40 metres space to feel safe and rest." 

"Unfortunately it is the stress incurred by being forced back into the water to avoid human fans that may cause the demise of these aquatic marvels."

"This is a fully grown adult seal though, in great condition and so has everything in terms of succeeding from this. As long as an infection doesn't develop, the wound should heal."

"Our (ORRCA's) only concern at this stage is this particular Kiwi is hauling out shallow, which they don't normally do, they prefer to go straight up the rocks. The wound to the flipper may be causing this."

" We did have a seal with a similar wound 12 months ago at Newcastle though and six months later this one  was spotted happily jumping on and off shelves there."

If anyone does see the seal this way, or south, please  maintain that 40 metres distance and contact ORRCA to report your sighting.

ORRCA - 24 Hour Hotline Phone: 02 9415 3333

From OORCA website:
ORRCA (Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia) is  the most experienced and successful whale rescue organisation in Australia.

Every year ORRCA trains many members of government agencies (including the Department of Environment and Climate Change) and ORRCA Members in marine mammal rescue.

ORRCA is also involved with the protection and welfare of seals, sea lions, dolphins and dugongs. Every year ORRCA volunteers spend many hours protecting hauled out seals and monitoring other marine mammals. We also work with Government Authorities and other groups with marine mammal rehabilitation and release. ORRCA's input is also sought when legislative bodies are amending existing laws or introducing new ones.

We assist with, monitor, and give advice on  marine animal entanglements.

ORRCA members receive a quarterly newsletter 'Flippers and Flukes'. This  keeps members up to date with the latest in best practices and procedures from Australia and around the world. We also encourage our members to tell  stories of their experiences with marine wildlife.

We have active research programs to better understand the problems that marine mammals encounter and to discover possible solutions and favourable outcomes. Our research includes necropsies, bone recoveries, skeletal exhumations, whale migration and behaviour monitoring and observations, as well as ongoing investigations in other areas.

Public education is another of our activities. We are always willing to share our knowledge as we are there for all.

Everyone in ORRCA is a volunteer. ORRCA is the only wildlife carers group in New South Wales licensed to be involved with marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation and release. Our members come from all walks of life, age groups and nationalities. We operate as a non-profit organisation and have charity status. View our constitution here.

Most importantly ORRCA operates a 24 hour, 7 days a week Marine Mammal Hotline. This telephone Hotline is staffed by volunteers and keeps ORRCA members, Government Authorities and interested members of the public informed of marine mammal emergencies, incidents and sightings. These incidents are not only in New South Wales but often in other states or even other countries.

ORRCA receives limited grants but otherwise relies on income from memberships, donations and workshops to keep the hotline and the organisation functioning.

ORRCA membership is open to all and your enquiries are welcome by visiting our Contacts page.

Shona Lorigan, Vice President of ORRCA, with her husband and son, Colm and Mike Lorigan at North Avalon on Thursday.