Rare visitor sadly found dead on popular South West beach after travelling from the bottom of the globe

Craig DuncanHarvey-Waroona Reporter
A dead seal has been found on a popular South West beach.
Camera IconA dead seal has been found on a popular South West beach. Credit: Maya Bykerk

A woman walking along a popular South West beach was shocked and saddened when she found a deceased seal just above the shoreline.

Preston Beach resident Maya Bykerk found the unfortunate animal on Monday last week after walking about 2km south from Preston Beach’s four-wheel-drive entrance.

She said she was sad and surprised to see the marine animal along the popular driving beach.

The seal was identified as a young sub-Antarctic fur seal and was later removed by the Shire of Waroona.

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A spokesperson from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservations and Attractions said sub-Antarctic fur seals were known to visit Australia on occasion.

They said they could sometimes be found along the WA coast this time of year, coming in to rest on the beaches.

Preston Beach volunteer ranger Noel Dew said he was surprised to see this species of seal because they were not a common sight in the area.

“From what I understand they are way out of their territory,” he said.

A dead seal has been found on a popular South West beach
Camera IconA dead seal has been found on a popular South West beach Credit: Maya Bykerk

“This was a small seal, who probably got separated from its mother.

“Quite often by the time they get here they have been battered around by storms and it was probably just do much for it.”

Mr Dew said the last time he saw a sub-Antarctic fur seal on Preston Beach was more than six years ago.

“What we do see here is our local seals coming ashore for a short spell,” he said.

“We just try to make sure people stay away from them so they can rest.”

The DBCA spokesperson said seals would often spend a great deal of time out of the water resting.

“This is normal behaviour and the best thing people can do is maintain a safe distance, which is 10m away when the animal is on land and 50m away in the water,” they said.

Though this seal was unfortunately deceased, it is likely others will be found lounging on the sandy shores.

“Fortunately, reports of sick or injured seals often turn out to be false alarms and, in most cases, seals do not need human intervention,” the spokesperson said.

“However, if a member of the public is concerned, they should call the Wildcare Helpline on 94749055.”

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