New Zealand Fur Seals are loveable brown-eyed friends you’ll find on beaches and rocky outcrops around both the north and south islands of NZ. The guys you find stretched out in the sun up here at Mount Maunganui all seem to be rather exhausted. Now I know that’s just the seal look, but they do appear to be recovering, on the tail end of some hairy adventure that they only just survived. And maybe this is the case.
Think about it. Seals are air-breathing mammals, just like us, or our dogs. Except they live in the wild and do most of their hunting in the pitch black of night, deep down in the ocean. They are a juicy morsel for sharks and orcas, so when they’re not chilling out on some sand, they must constantly be on high alert. Think about the cortisol levels seals must have. No wonder when they want to chillax they are as docile as ravers after festival.
It saddens me that these dudes come to hang on beaches only to get harassed by dogs who are out on their daily walks. I mean, you can’t blame the dog owners or the dogs themselves, because when I dog sees a another big fishy dog laying on the sand with no paws, what else is there to do but go and have a sniff. So the seals flop back into the cold water, before they’ve had a proper day time siesta and then guess who is waiting for them just out the back. Mr teeth.
The NZ Department of Conservation has some really excellent resources about NZ Fur Seals, so take a look if you’re interested in the facts, behaviours and history of the creatures. It is horrifying to think they were almost driven to extinction through human hunting only half a century ago. I know protein is protein and we eat everything else anyway, but there is something so gentle about these guys. I met one on the beach today and he just looked at me, wriggled his whiskers and rolled back over to sleep.
Maybe there’s something to be learned from seals: live every moment like it’s your last. But rest like you have forever.