Sunbaking seal becomes a ‘daily attraction’

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An Australian fur seal has captured the hearts of Sydneysiders and tourists as a daily “catch-me-if-you-can” attraction after randomly popping up on northern beaches for three months.

The seal, who has been affectionately named Reg, has spent the best part of Wednesday hanging out on the beach at Dee Why on Sydney’s northern beaches.

He was first spotted sunbaking on a Sydney beach back in September, Jools Farrell from Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia said .

Ms Farrell has been keeping a close watch on Reg, who she named not so much to protect him but to stop people getting too close.

“He’s becoming very much a daily attraction,” Ms Farrell said.

The seal is choosing to come ashore on popular beaches.

“He’s drawing a crowd, and people do not realise he is a wild animal and they bite,” Ms Farrell said.

“The reason we are here is to protect people from Reg because we are not concerned about him but the humans who think they can pat him and take selfies with him.”

Reg popped up on the shore at Dee Why before 10am, one of several places Sydneysiders and tourists have been able to watch him laze about.

“He’s been going between Manly and Collaroy since the end of September,” she said.

“We get calls all the time and that’s how we know where he is.

“He hasn’t bitten anyone yet, but we don’t want anyone getting close to him. People need to stay a legal 40m distance away.”

She said do not feed a resting seal, pour water over them or try to coerce them back into the water.

“You leave them be,” she said.

“They feed at night and then they haul-out, come out on the beach, to rest. So it is normal behaviour.”

Ms Farrell said Reg had a distinctive notch in one of his front flippers, so he was easy to identify.

Just how long Reg puts on his free seal show depends on his appetite.

“He’s been popping up in the early evenings and hauling-out at various times of the day, so there is no set time. Just when he feels like he needs a rest,” she said.

“They like fish and little penguins.”

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