Far From Home: A Farmer In South Australia Finds Baby Seal In Wheat Crop 3km From Nearest Ocean

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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Potentially Devastating Melting Arctic Sea Ice Causing Deadly Phocine Distemper Virus (PDV) To Spread In Marine Mammals!

Climate change could be to blame for spikes in a deadly virus among otters, seals and sea lions around the Arctic, a new study has suggested.

Phocine distemper virus (PDV) has been common in the northern Atlantic ocean for decades but as a result of melting Arctic sea ice it has now appeared among marine mammals in the northern Pacific ocean too.

When the virus started to spread across species of Otters, Seals and Sea Lions in the northern Pacific Oceans, scientists thought melting ice could be the culprit. 

The 15-year study which tracked the animals via satellite found PDV, which can kill some species, was most common in years when so much Arctic ice melted it became possible for mammals to move freely from the Atlantic to Pacific regions.

a dog swimming in a body of water
Sea Otters

Steadily rising global temperatures due to climate change have meant more and more sea ice is melting around the Arctic, opening up sea lanes which for thousands of years have been impassable.

Between 1979 and 2018, Arctic sea ice declined on average 12.8 per cent each decade, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“These sea ice changes in September are likely unprecedented for at least 1,000 years,” the IPCC said in a report published in September.

Researchers studied 15 years of data that tracked 2,500 marine mammals in a variety of locations via satellite to find if upticks in PDV matched with declines in sea ice. They also studied measurements of Arctic sea ice over the same time period and examined blood and nasal swab samples from 165 dead ice-associated animals. 

Testing showed about 30 per cent of Stellar Sea Lions in the northern Pacific Ocean were infected with the disease, which had previously been mostly confined to Atlantic populations.

Steller sea lions swim through waters off the coast of British Columbia. Scientists are concerned that a deadly virus killing northern sea lions could spread farther south as the ice melts, infecting marine mammals off the coast of California.
Steller Sea Lions swim through waters off the coast of British Columbia. Scientists are concerned that a deadly virus killing Northern Sea Lions could spread farther south as the ice melts, infecting marine mammals off the coast of California.

Researchers concluded that melting Arctic sea ice caused by human-driven climate change paved the way for PDV to spread to new regions and infect new populations of marine mammals, especially along the northern Russian coast and along the coast of northern Canada. 

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