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Wildlife – Sealions and Fur Seals

What is the difference between a Fur Seal and a Sealion?

Not a lot!

Mainly size. Sealions are bigger than Fur seals with bulls weighing around 400kg, they have a mane of blubber around their neck like a huge double chin! They are related and both have ears whereas true Seals do not.

New Zealand Fur Seals and Sealions regularly haul themselves out of the water along the Catlins coastline spending a considerable time ashore. Fur Seals waddle on all fours and prefer the rocks, Sealions walk on their hind flippers and prefer the sand.

The Fur Seal was hunted last century for skins until no colonies were left on the mainland, the population is now recovering. Adult seals sometimes leave pups on the beach while they are away fishing.

Male Sealions may be aggressive during December-February which is their breeding season even though they do not breed on the mainland.

For your safety and theirs:

  • Keep your distance, at least 20 metres.
  • Do not block their escape route to the sea.
  • Do not disturb their pups.

An array of interesting animals can be seen in the area, like the visiting Southern Right Whale or the migrating Blue and Humpback Whales, Bottlenose Dolphins, Oystercatchers and Muttonbirds to name but a few.

Please respect the wildlife care code:

love them from a distance or lose them forever.