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