A dog owner has been tracked down and fined after pictures were shared on social media which allegedly showed him allowing his dog to attack an Australian fur seal in a marine reserve.
All Australian marine mammals, including rare fur seals, are protected.
The 47-year-old man, from Dee Why in Sydney’s northern beaches, was hit with a whopping $1320 penalty as well as a caution for not keeping his dog under control in a public place at Long Reef beach.
In a statement, Northern Beaches Council revealed the rare seal frequented Long Reef beach in late October and was believed to be the same animal seen at South Curl Curl beach earlier that month.
Mayor Michael Regan thanked the public for their help in tracking down the owner and protecting the animal.
“We are truly fortunate that such a magnificent creature visited our beaches for onlookers to admire from afar,” Cr Regan said.
“People must keep at least 40 metres away from these protected animals and dogs are not permitted at all times at this particular stretch of coastline, which is designated a marine reserve.
“In addition to Long Beach Recreation Reserve prohibiting dogs, protections are in place under NSW law for the protection of all seals.”
The council stated that rangers regularly patrolled the beach where the seal was known to visit, and that NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service officers and volunteers from the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia checked on the animal’s welfare.
“The National Parks and Wildlife Service is also investigating as people getting closer than 40 metres to seals on land can be fined up to $3300,” NPWS Manager Sydney North, Chad Weston, said.
He urged people to report sick, injured or distressed seals to NPWS on 13000 PARKS (1300 072 757) or ORRCA on (02) 9415 3333.