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March 24, 2009

New Zealand Sea Lion at Surat Bay

Charging sea lion bullDo the paparazzi annoy you too sometimes? That's what this New Zealand or Hooker's sea lion seemed to be saying after I had taken multiple photos of him sun and sand-bathing on the beach at Surat Bay on the Catlins coast.

We had heard that the bulls come onto the beach at Surat Bay, so stopped by to see what we could see. We struck it lucky as this big bull sea lion strode up onto the beach just as we got there. He must have heard I was coming with my camera!

These sea lions once bred all over the New Zealand coast, but wouldn't you know it, man put an end to that. Hunted first by the Maori for food, and then by sealers for their fur and oil, today they breed mostly on some of the southern-most islands off the east coast of the South Island. In recent years some small breeding colonies have established themselves on the mainland coast.

Anyhow, check out my photos of the sea lion at Surat Bay.

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