Steer clear of sassy Sabrina the seal

Sabrina being Seally: Sorry this path has been sealed off from visitors. Photo: Michael Quinlan
Sabrina being Seally: Sorry this path has been sealed off from visitors. Photo: Michael Quinlan

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff were called out by members of the public to attend to a cranky seal on the Merimbula Boardwalk on Friday, February 2. 

The seal nicknamed Sabrina, was threatening to bail up walkers and was perched in the middle of the path barking and lunging at passers by.

As a result NPWS staff placed signs at either end of the boardwalk to warn pedestrians of the displaced seal. 

Program manager at Merimbula’s National Parks Office Rob McKinnon was glad that no one was injured, but urged the public to keep a fair distance from the seal in the future.

“Once we arrived the seal had moved back near the shoreline and was quite passive,” he said.

“We have had a few calls about this seal, it has a deformed jaw and has been hanging around for a few years,” he said.

“It will often rest under the bridge, by the boatramp or over at Mitchies jetty.”

In 2016, the same seal created a scene close to Mitchies Jetty after swimming up and down close to the beach, exiting the water and making a dash for a fisherman.

Mr McKinnon said that it is likely the seal has become familiar with people and that it is important to be cautious especially when it shows signs of aggression.

“Seals rest out of water and this one happened to pick a bad spot.

“They can be dangerous, it is important for people to keep a wide berth of about 20 metres or so,” Mr McKinnon said.

“They can be quick on land so you should steer clear. It will be its natural reaction to escape back to the water so you must avoid coming in between the seal and its path to water,” Mr McKinnon added.

Australian Fur Seal Facts

  • Length: 135cm - 227cm
  • Weight: Males range 218kg - 360kg Females range 41kg - 113kg
  • Diet: A variety of bony fish species plus squid and octopus. 
  • Can dive to depths of 200m
  • Despite its cumbersome appearance, it is also quite mobile on land, even over rocky terrain.