New Zealand Fur Seal (Arctocephalus forsteri)

Fur Seals and Sea Lions are different from other seals because they have external ear flaps and hind flippers which rotate forward, which in turn, allows them to move very quickly on land and yes, they will give you a run for your money, so it pays to be situationally aware.

They need to be treated with respect and never taken for granted. The Department of Conservation  have some interesting information on their site about them.

I often say, all animals speak to us, if we as humans, choose to watch, listen & learn.

So I have watched, listened and learned. I have learned how they communicate with each other and in turn, they have taught me how I can communicate with them. I know when they are angry and taking a photo isn’t a good idea. or when they need their own space.

During the breeding season I have watched the battered and injured males, gather on the rocks to lick their wounds and recuperate. Some of course don’t make it. I have spent time watching young pups frolic in the water and hang out on the rocks. I have had lunch with them and together we have watched gannets diving in the ocean for food.

And yes, I feel I am privileged that they allow me to walk amongst them and yes, I often get quite close but that is what I do but I would never suggest to anyone, to do the same. After all they are wild animals and do have the potential to harm. I always treat with respect and never take them for granted. From a photography prospective, it always pays to know your subject.

NZ Fur Seals are a part of my life, when I go and spend time with them, I experience a level of calmness and peace, I find nowhere else. Its like going home and home for me is, wherever they are.