Shocking sights as seal beaches itself on Mission Bay

Must See 19/12/2018

News of Mission Bay as a popular seaside destination appears to have reached the sub-Antarctic, with a female elephant seal spending two days sunning on the bay's beach.

The appearance of the seal, which is native to the Southern Ocean, drew large crowds amazed to learn she is hundreds of kilometres from home.

"Definitely good endurance," one onlooker told Newshub.

"Role model for us!" said another.

The visitor has been cooling herself down with flippers full of wet sand because "it's probably really's probably sunbathing," reckoned one kid.

Department of Conservation (DoC) rangers have been keeping an eye out for her, including one staying overnight to make sure no one from a nearby party disturbed her.

"When she's lying there like that, she's happy, she's not moving, she's just resting," said DoC marine ranger Gabrielle Goodin.

"We need to make sure she's safe and other people are safe... she's got that ability to crush and she can move fast despite her body."

Ms Goodin said people should enjoy the special visitor from afar - and never get between her and the water.

"What they shouldn't be doing is getting within 20m of her, staying behind [barriers around the seal] is fine. We don't want people approaching her. She will show warning signs like a growl or warning sound."

In 2000, 'Homer' the elephant seal made international headlines with his car-crushing antics and knocking out a Gisborne restaurant's power supply.

But the elephant seal currently parked up in Auckland is not so aggressive.