A man trying to fight a sea lion as he chased it across a beach should have walked away, a passerby said.
Darryl Jones said he saw a bodyboarder enter the water on St Clair Beach in Dunedin just in front of the St Clair hot salt water pool.
Jones, a surfer from St Clair, watched from his car and saw a sea lion come out of the water towards the man.
He said the man kept trying to go into the waves, but the sea lion was moving its head and trying to play with it.
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“The guy obviously started to panic but the problem was he kept trying to pass him and just trick the thing into playing by trying to dance around it,” he said.
The man lifted his bodyboard and began to retreat.
Jones said the man should have continued to walk backwards, but he continued to stop after a few steps.
Footage filmed by Jones shows the sea lion leaping towards the bodyboard every time it stops, and the man waving his bodyboard. He kicked the animal twice, narrowly missing its head.
“If he had hit him in the ear or on the side of the face, he could have injured him,” Jones said.
“If he had hit him with the hard edge of the board, he might have broken his jaw or whatever.” It was incredible behavior.
The man could have just walked away and waited a few minutes until the sea lion was gone, Jones suggested, or rather walked further along the sand to enter the water.
The man finally left the beach.
Jones said the sea lion sat on the beach for a few minutes before returning to the sea.
He disappeared and didn’t disturb any of the other surfers in the water, he said.
New Zealand sea lions are one of the rarest species of sea lions in the world and are only found here. With a population of around 12,000 and the main breeding colony in decline, their conservation status is vulnerable nationwide.
It is an offense under the Marine Mammal Protection Act 1978 to disturb, harass, injure, injure or kill a New Zealand sea lion.
Police were called to St Clair Beach last year after reports a man was harassing a sea lion and warming up with passers-by trying to intervene. In December, a 300kg male sea lion visited a property in St Clair after its residents blew up a conch shell.
Jim Fyfe, the Department of Conservation’s Otago Coast Ranger, said it was obvious the man didn’t have much experience with sea lions.
“A big sea lion coming up to you can be scary, but it’s all about controlling your own reaction and doing the right thing.
“He had a lot of space to retreat, he could have kept the board between himself and the sea lion, and there would have been no argument, he did not have to swing it,” he said. he declares.
The main message for people who encountered sea lions was to leave them alone.
“Get bored. Don’t interact. They come in for a reaction like an excited dog, so you have to react calmly and try not to be the center of attention. Back up and wait a few minutes and the sea lion will go back on. sea, ”he said.