A South Australian farmer has released a baby Seal back into the ocean after finding it in a wheat crop on a farm near Cowell on the Eyre Peninsula.
A neighbour called farmer Ty Kayden and said that he had found a Seal on his driveway, 3km inland from the sea.
“My neighbour called me up, he said: ‘You have to come and have a look at this.’ I thought he said a baby cow is in my driveway. He goes: ‘No, it’s a baby Seal,’” Kayden said.
“I was like: ‘You’re kidding, we better come for a look,’” he said.
The closest Seal colony is about 80km up the coastline, he added.
Kayden’s family have been farming in the area for more than 60 years and have never seen one come this far inland.
“We pulled up and there is this tiny little three-foot [about 91cm] Seal, sitting right on the edge of the wheat crop,” he said.
“Three kilometres is a long way from the ocean — it’s a small two-wheel track to the beach. I have no idea how it got there or what it had been doing,” he said.
“Hopefully it’s had a big feed of king whiting and is looking a bit fatter,” Kayden said.
The Seal appeared frail, but Kayden noted that it was fortunate to be alive given the current prevalence of foxes in the area.
Since there was no nearby animal protection organization, they decided it would be best to return the Seal to the beach rather than leave him in the centre of the harvest.
The only thing we could do was bring him back to the beach and start him moving because there is nothing comparable to the RSPCA nearby, he claimed.
We simply dropped a towel over its head, picked it up, and placed it in a tub in the back of the pickup.
The Seal was taken to the beach, where it was high tide, by Kayden and his worker. The Seal first resisted leaving, but after a slight prod, it swam off into the shallow water.
According to Kayden, “I’m hoping it’s had a large feed of king whiting and is looking a bit heavier.”
Although other species occasionally visit the shore, South Australian waters are home to Australian sea lions, long-nosed fur Seals, and Australian fur Seals.
According to Steve Reynolds, president of the Marine Life Society of South Australia, the animal was probably a Longnose New Zealand fur Seal, which is capable of walking on its flippers.
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