About three years ago, vertebrate curator Colin Miskelly made the ‘rash’ claim that the best bet for seeing a crabeater seal in New Zealand was to visit the mouth of the Hutt River in Wellington Harbour – and wait approximately 25 years. But one showed up there a few days ago. Colin gives his thoughts on why they come here.
In late March 2015, a crabeater seal swam up the Hutt River (which flows into Wellington Harbour) and died. It was a remarkable occurrence – the crabeater seal is an Antarctic species rarely recorded in New Zealand – but no-one realised at the time that this was precisely the place
Crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophaga) might be one of the most abundant large mammals on the planet, but they rarely swim as far north as New Zealand. They are one of the characteristic animals of the pack ice zone that encircles Antarctica, hauling out on the floating ice to rest, breed,