NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service frees entangled seal at Narooma break wall

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has successfully freed a resident fur seal at the Narooma break wall that had been entangled in a tight-fitting plastic ring for several months.

Seal sitting on rockwall, with NPWS assisting with rescue

The seal has garnered significant interest and concern from the local community, who have been closely monitoring its wellbeing and reporting sightings to NPWS and Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA).

Numerous attempts were made to disentangle the seal, however its frequent appearances and disappearances for weeks at a time made it challenging for NPWS staff to intervene.

On Wednesday June 19, the stars finally aligned when the seal reappeared on the break wall. Skilled NPWS staff were able to safely capture the seal and successfully remove the plastic ring. The seal was unharmed during the process and quickly returned to the ocean to re-join its seal friends.

It is common to see fur seals hauled out along the NSW coastline at this time of year. The vast majority of seals lying on break walls, rock shelves or beaches are just resting or digesting a belly full of fish.

People are reminded to give seals plenty of space. While they may look fairly docile, seals can move very quickly on land, have sharp teeth and may bite if frightened or provoked.

Please don’t approach a seal that has hauled out for any reason. For your own safety, and the animal’s welfare, you must stay at least 40 metres away from adults and 80 metres if there is a pup present.

If you see a seal in distress or injured, give the animal plenty of space and report them to the NPWS on 13000 PARKS or ORRCA on 9415 3333.

Quotes attributable to NPWS Area Manager Jo Issaverdis:

‘We are incredibly proud to have made a difference for this seal.

‘The community’s support and the dedication of ORRCA volunteers in monitoring and reporting sightings were invaluable.

‘Our staff’s recent training in marine wildlife rescue was also fortuitous, greatly contributing to the successful and safe removal of the plastic ring.

‘It was really heartening for the team to see the seal dive back into the ocean, free from its entanglement.

‘We’d like to thank the local community and ORRCA volunteers for their support and vigilance in reporting sightings of this little guy over the past few months. Your reports were key to ensuring a positive outcome for this critter.’

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