VIDEO: Large leopard seal makes New Zealand marina home

owha

(WFLA) – A rather large resident has made a marina in New Zealand’s Auckland Harbor its home for almost a year.

NBC shared the video of the leopard seal that the locals call Owha. Instead of heading south for the Antarctic summer, it has decided to stay in the warmer waters.

The video shows Owha sunning on a pontoon in the marina this week. Krista Hupman, a marine biologist with New Zealand’s department of conservation says this extended stay may be the world first.

The large predator who looks to weigh more than 600 pounds, was a concern for some sailors but Hupman says it is safe as long as humans keep their distance. The department of conservation considered moving the animal but decided that the risk to the seal was too big.

The department will track Owha’s movements and has asked the locals to help by reporting sightings using a dolphin tracking app.

“She seems to be quite placid, but also quite curious,” Hupman said about the seal. “So when people do come within 20 meters of her, you could expect a reaction, because she is a wild animal. But when people keep their distance, we find that she’s quite happy to be left alone.”

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