Recently a concentration of giant petrels, skuas, shags and a few cape petrels were noticed moving slowly across Buckles Bay. Very quickly it was realised that a large seal of some description had caught what looked to be a young fur seal. The flock of birds obviously hopeful of some scraps as the sea lion fed.
Looking closely at the photos taken the seal was identified as an adult male Hooker’s sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri); the large head and thick mane distinctive features.
The Hooker’s, or New Zealand, sea lion is the world’s rarest sea lion species with a global population of approximately 10,000. It primarily breeds on New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic Auckland and Campbell Islands and to a lesser extent around the coast of New Zealand’s South and Stewart Islands.