A GRUMPY Elephant Seal which had been frequenting Seaspray and Woodside beaches has reportedly taken her bad temper to Lakes Entrance and Marlo.
The seal, which was nicknamed Slappy at Seaspray, had been entertaining locals, particularly around the Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club, in recent weeks, issuing clear warnings for people to keep away when they got too close.
Department of Environment and Primary Industries natural resources and fisheries regional manager Ryan Incoll told the Gippsland Times earlier last month when she appeared locally that there was little doubt the seal was the same one that had visited Gippsland beaches in 2011 and 2012.
Mr Incoll said it was unusual that the seal was thousands of kilometres away from her normal home with other Elephant Seals at sub-Antarctic islands, such as Macquarie Island.
“The seal is not sick or injured and beaching at this time of year is normal behaviour for Elephant Seals while they rest and moult their skin,” he said.
Mr Incoll warned the seal defended her personal space and was quite aggressive towards people who got too close.
“No-one has yet been bitten, but it is quite capable of inflicting a nasty injury,” he said.
“The seal enjoys peace and quiet, and if left alone is placid and spends long periods resting on the beach.
“We urge people to leave it alone, give it plenty of space and keep dogs away, for their own and the seal’s safety and welfare,” Mr Incoll said.
“Not only is it an offence to approach and harass seals, doing so can create more problems by making the animal more aggressive.”