Monday, 2 December 2013

The Land of the Long White Cloud 3 - Fur seals

Fur seals on the rocks
 Jusr north of Kaikoura is a place just off the coastal road where the New Zealand fur seals haul-out - and right now is pupping town. The site is very noisy. There seems to be much squabbling going on, but amongst all the drama are the sharp-nosed, big-eyed pups with their mums close by.

A small altercation between a female and a much larger male.

Slick from the sea.

Giant kelp surrounds the haul-out

Mother and pup

Pup and 'dad'

Pup sitting on pieces of broken kelp (perfect camouflage)

Before the whalers started there trade on these New Zealand shores there were sealers. The fur seals were taken for their pelts - which are famed for having two sorts of hair, long and short as visible in some of these pictures) - and their oil. The New Zealand fur seal was pushed to the edge of extinction but has now recovered well. As you drive toards the viewing-point for this colony a sign warns of fur seals on the road.

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