More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

‘Rare’ sighting of New Zealand fur seal in Rarotonga’s lagoon

Thursday 27 July 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Editor's Pick, Environment, National


‘Rare’ sighting of New Zealand fur seal in Rarotonga’s lagoon
A young Kekeno/New Zealand fur seal seen casually “sunning” itself at Avarua harbour in 2021. (PHOTO: MELINA ETCHES)/21072112.

A juvenile New Zealand fur seal was sighted swimming in Rarotonga’s lagoon this week, says Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR).

The kayaker who witnessed the rare sight on Monday reported it to MMR.

In a statement on their Facebook page, MMR said: “If you happen to see a seal, please stay at least 20 metres away and do not attempt to feed it. Please report any sightings to MMR – phone 28721.”

“Because the Cook Islands are well outside of the normal range of these seals, they are considered vagrants to the area. Many thanks to the member of the public who initially notified us. Although these seals may look friendly, they can be aggressive if frightened.”

This is not the first time New Zealand fur seals have been sighted in Rarotonga waters.

In July 2021, a fur seal nicknamed “Nosey” camped near the Trader Jack’s.

In August that year, a New Zealand fur seal was discovered on Amuri beach in Aitutaki. The seal was believed to be the one discovered in Rarotonga and “appeared to be in a stressed state”. It later died.