Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
Little work is being done on New Zealand pinnipeds, and I am not aware of any being done around the Auckland region.

Here we have what we so often see, an 'almost dead' seal on an Auckland west coast beach, encountered today. There was nothing that we could do for this poor animal; by law we are not allowed to touch them, and it was on its very last legs/breath.

A study on diet of these otherwise poorly known animals, and anthropogenic threats to the seals would make for a superb Masters research programme.

I'd sure like to hear from someone interested in undertaking a project of this nature!

That's Severine, one of our postgrads, acting as a scale.


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Other threats to these animals include vehicular transport, and idiots! Here are several images taken last year of one dead pup, and one live pup that was being terrorised by motorcycles.

You'll see a dead pup next to some tire tracks; and a live pup trying to run down the shore, amongst the tire tracks; the idiot motorcyclists (that got a 'jolly good' telling off); and the state of the beach. This beach was like this on a Friday; it is an order of magnitude worse on a weekend, after every idiot hoon has torn up and down in the name of leisure.

It really gets you 'hot under the collar'!


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What was the pup doing so far on the shore anyway? Was it abandoned?
I live on a boat and we have a seal pup that comes to the marina every winter( so cool to see it playing around the boats).
[ pup in the pic looks really sad]
are "hoon" and "JAFA" some sort of Kiwi insult I should add to my vocabulary (presumably not in polite company?)

That certainly seems awful. I'm sometimes a bit put off by those who want to restrict freedoms, but then I see people who clearly abuse their freedoms irresponsibly like this. bleh.
Mark, 'hoon' and 'hoodlum' are basically the same thing; I use it to refer to idiots. JAFA isn't exactly a term of endearment; it's an acronym for "Just another 'flipping' (cough) Aucklander" ... except it's not 'flippin'. I suppose you could use it also for "Just another 'flippin' American".

Aucklanders seem to be despised by the rest of the country. They care little about the environment, and seem to be more concerned with real estate and money. The same actually applies to most New Zealanders.

Those on TONMO, and many that support the Greens parties, do care. I'm preaching to the converted here; it is common sense to us.

We encountered the large seal (first images) on our way down the beach. On our return we noted that someone had dragged it further down to low-water mark. One can only assume the kind folk that did this assumed the animal had gills. What happened as a consequence is that it drowned (hastening its demise). I really don't know what to say.

Cephalopodia, often the pups bask on the sand at high water. I believe this to be natural. Sadly the 'hoons' race their bikes and 4WDs in the same area. I have many more images that would sadden you. The really sad thing is that this pup looked left and right many times before heading down the beach; this was a learnt behaviour I would imagine.

Kind-of chokes me up sometimes!
Hey Steve, sounds like an interesting project (there have been some studies done down here on Pinniped diets).

As for the Hoons, there was something on the news last week(I think) about just this problem, a teenager had been killed by one on Muriwai Beach and as the cameras filmed the mayhem a biker and quadbiker met up......violently.... with the result the quadbiker was taken to hospital seriously injured.....Idiots! Anyway it seems that the beaches are in fact classed as "open road" and the road rules apply! Too bad no ones seems to a) know this or b) enforce it!

A bamboo staff between their spokes at speed ought to do the trick. Poor little pup.:sad:
Yeah I bet the other pics would sadden me too. I'm so used to seeing seals happily basking on rocks especially in Cape Palliser where I went for my field trip couple of years ago. And ironically our group project was on seals.
I normally tend to be of a peaceful nature. Normally. At the moment, however, what I would do to those biker hoons is not fit to be printed. A curse on all their kind! Right now I wish my moniker was spelled with the requisite "c" and was indicative of capabilities I do not possess. Lucky for them! :mad:
I worked for years (before moving...) at a rehabilitation center in Southern California. What humans have done to these animals is truly heart breaking. I think what is more worrisome than a few hooligans is overfishing and pollution.
Yeah, even after working at an animal shelter for 3.5 years I have a hard time fathoming that mentality. To be able to not care, and worse, to be able to inflict suffering on animals and get a kick out of it.

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