At 7.15am on the morning of Saturday 8th September 2012, a call was received by Wildlife Victoria’s Emergency Response Service about a seal trying to cross Beaconsfield Pde in St Kilda.
Amy Amato, a trained volunteer rescuer was called to the scene to assist police and curious onlookers. Wildlife Victoria’s Emergency Phone Operator Lucinda made contact with Melbourne Zoo seal keepers which were put in direct contact with the rescuer on the scene.
Acting on the advice from Melbourne Zoo seal keepers, an attempt was made by Amy and a police officer to coax the young fur seal back over four lanes of traffic, a stone wall and into the water. As soon as he spotted the water he knew where he was headed and swam off into the bay which was around 8.15am.
At approximately 10.00am, another call came through with reports that the same young seal had made he’s way back onto Beaconsfield Pde, this time a little further down in Middle Park. Amy rushed back to the scene, this time with the help of two other volunteer rescuers Caz and Joe.
After consultation with Melbourne Zoo seal keepers, it was agreed that the seal’s behaviour was a little more concerning and further assessment would be needed. A decision was made by Melbourne Zoo in conjunction with the Department of Sustainability & Environment to rescue the seal. Melbourne zoo attended the scene and together with Wildlife Victoria volunteers captured the seal and he was then transported to the zoo for further assessment.
The New Zealand Fur Seal, aptly named Saint, has spent two days recovering at Melbourne Zoo and zoo vets have given him the all clear. New Zealand Fur Seals generally hunt in Bass Strait rather than Port Philip Bay so although it was unusual for him to be in the bay, he may have just been taking a break in calmer waters. Saint will be returned to the straight on Monday all being well.
Wildlife Victoria would like to acknowledge the concerned members of the community for reporting the seal to the Wildlife Victoria Emergency Response Service. Thank you also to the volunteers involved along with the staff at Melbourne Zoo.
Please contact the Wildlife Victoria Emergency Response Service if you see sick, injured or orphaned wildlife on 13 000 WILDLIFE (13 000 94535). Save the number in your phone!
UPDATE: 10th September 2012 – Saint’s Journey To Release!
Saint, the New Zealand Fur Seal was captured in his temporary enclosure at Melbourne Zoo ready for his journey back to the wild! Seal keepers along with Dr Michael Lynch, Melbourne Zoo Vet were happy with his condition and like all of us are very excited to see him returned to the ocean where he belongs. Here are some images of Saint and the preparations put in place for his journey home. Thanks again to our friends at Zoos Victoria for their care and dedication to wildlife.