Sunbaking seal spotted at Greenhills beach

Big stretch: The junior leopard seal spotted at Greenhills beach today. Picture: Leesa Pratt/ORRCA
Big stretch: The junior leopard seal spotted at Greenhills beach today. Picture: Leesa Pratt/ORRCA

Visitors to Greenhills beach were treated to a surprise visitor today – a juvenile leopard seal.

Walkers on the beach first spotted the seal in the early hours of Tuesday morning and called wildlife rescue services.

The Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) has remained on scene throughout the day along with officers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

ORRCA Vice-President Shona Lorigan said leopards seals were regularly seen along the coast at this time of the year as they swim north from their home in Antarctica.

She said cuts seen on the seal were known as cookie cutter shark bites and were normal for sea animals.

‘’The cuts aren’t deep and completely normal,’’ she said.

‘’They’re certainly not a worry.’’

Visitor: Julie McKinnery captured a photo of the leopard seal during a early morning walk on Tuesday. Picture: Julie McKinnery

Visitor: Julie McKinnery captured a photo of the leopard seal during a early morning walk on Tuesday. Picture: Julie McKinnery

She said the seal was healthy and would return to the water on its own.

However, people should avoid getting too close.

‘’Leopard seals do have sharp teeth so people should keep away,’’ she said.

National Park and Wildlife Service officers will return on Wednesday morning to ensure the seal makes it back to sea safely.