A sea lion has swum 60km inland to give birth to her pup — something that’s never been seen in sea lions before.
DOC Coastal Otago biodiversity ranger Jim Fyfe said the mother and pup were found up the Clutha River Mata-Au near Tuapeka in late January, which was “new, exciting and unexpected behaviour for this taoka (taonga) species”.
“While we know pregnant females push inland to escape the attention of males at this time of year, we never thought they might choose a breeding site this far from the sea.”
Fyfe said he visited the site last week and found a healthy 15kg female pup.
He said the mother sea lion would be named Jade, a part of the Catlins population.
Fyfe said it was important that people gave the sea lions plenty of space: “People boating in this area need to be aware they are now sharing the waterway and keep an eye out for sea lions popping up.
“Boats should slow to an idle, no wake speed when they become aware she is in the vicinity.”
Pakake have a threat status of “nationally vulnerable” and number at about 12,000.