leopard seal
leopard seal

‘Ferocious’ leopard seal spotted at North Bondi

An adult leopard seal, one of the ocean's "most ferocious predators" hauled itself out of the surf at North Bondi to the surprise of beachgoers this afternoon.

The mammal was spotted sunbathing on the famous stretch of sand about 2pm before lifeguards made the decision to call police for crowd control an hour later.

The seal, which is showing two small cookiecutter shark bites, posed a potential threat to onlookers due to its speed on land and large teeth.

The seal was seen with two small bites, believed to be from a cookiecutter shark. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
The seal was seen with two small bites, believed to be from a cookiecutter shark. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

 

Police set up a 50m perimeter, to protect people on the beach. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
Police set up a 50m perimeter, to protect people on the beach. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

 

 

"The crowd was a bit too close so we set up a perimeter - a 50 metre exclusion zone," a police spokesman said.

The Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) and National Parks were also called in to help manage the situation.

ORRCA Second Vice President Jools Sarrell said it's likely the seal has swum from Antarctica and beached in Sydney for a rest.

"We're fairly happy with the body condition of it," she said. "The bites aren't a big issue for a seal".

ORRCA said it appears the seal is simply resting after a long journey. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
ORRCA said it appears the seal is simply resting after a long journey. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Ms Sarrell said it is important for the public to be aware of just how dangerous leopard seals can be in and out of the water.

"They are one of the most ferocious predators in the ocean, second to an orca.

"They take out penguins, eat other seals, fish, squids, birds and are very fast on land".

"People just don't understand how quickly they can move".

Leopard seals return to the water at night to feed but Ms Sarrell said the animal could resurface at a nearby beach in the coming days.

Anyone who spots the seal, or any marine mammal on a NSW beach is encouraged to call ORRCA on 9415 3333.

 

 

It could resurface north or south of Sydney in the coming days. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
It could resurface north or south of Sydney in the coming days. Picture: Sam Ruttyn