The National Parks and Wildlife Service has issued a warning to stay away from seals after a number of the marine mammals have hauled out onto footpaths and hanging around boat ramps.
A large bull seal was spotted on the footpath at the Narooma town wharf on the morning of Tuesday, January 30 reportedly attracting a crowd of onlookers.
Over the Australia Day long weekend, a large seal was also seen hanging around the Apex Park boat ramp coming into close proximity to people watching the Rotary duck race and people cleaning fish.
Earlier in the month around Tuesday, January 16, the Eurobodalla Council on the advice of National Parks put a barricade across the entrance to the southern breakwater at the Narooma bar, where seals in the past few years have come to rest on the rocks in what is known as a “haul out” site.
A National Parks spokesperson said the service worked with the council to put up a temporary barricade on the southern breakwater during high seas in mid-January due to seals having hauled out over the rocks onto the pathway.
“When a seal comes ashore temporarily this is known as hauling out, and this is normal seal behaviour. Seals are regularly seen hauling out around Narooma,” the spokesperson said.
“Locals are urged to take care around seals and give them space. Seals are wild animals and can be unpredictable; they move fast on land and may bite if frightened. Supervise children and restrain pets at all times, and never walk between a seal and the water.
“Seals have an exclusion zone of 40 metres from adult seals for people and vessels, and 80 metres from pups."
Narooma Sport and Gamefishing Club publicity officer Jan Hemmingsen is concerned about the safety of bystanders.
“It has been brought to my attention that the seals are getting a little too tame and friendly. Last Saturday one was pictured getting a little too close for comfort at the cleaning table at Apex Park,” he said.
“I believe it was discouraged by hosing it. To check things out I went out on the break wall and as I was returning to my car there was a one I had missed sunning itself on a rock next to the path close enough to touch
“My concern is it is only a matter of time before we shall have a major attack on a small child. Surely a safety fence could be erected along the top of the wall to keep the seals out and the people in, and being able to be viewed safely.”