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New Zealand shuts down road for a month to protect new sea lion mom and pup

The sea lion will spend her time foraging for food in the ocean and feeding her pup and this involved crossing the road often.

New Zealand shuts down road for a month to protect new sea lion mom and pup
Image source: Facebook/ChisholmLinks

While humans are living through the coronavirus pandemic, animals are thriving more than ever. Since time immemorial, human beings have disrupted the ecosystem of the earth, destroyed habitats, and pushed animals into extinction. We've reduced their homes to small patches of land as we build concrete jungles in their home. With humans moving indoors on account of the pandemic, animals are slowly coming out of their hiding and treading into spaces they wouldn't otherwise go. As they say, nature is healing. We even got to see dolphins swimming in Venice. New Zealand, one of the countries that handled the pandemic extremely well, is paying more attention to the needs of animals.



A New Zealand city council shut down a road so a sea lion could care for her pup. The decision has been lauded by people and hopefully a start. The sea lion named Hiriwa had chosen the Chisolm Links golf course and country club in Dunedin, New Zealand to give birth, reported New Zealand Herald. After spotting the sea lion with its pup, a New Zealand city council decided to shut down the road so Hiriwa could take care of her pup. "She has come up John Wilson Drive and into the golf course to have her pup in some bushes there," said Jim Fyfe, Department of Conservation coastal Otago biodiversity ranger.



Chisholm Links golf club manager Wilson James welcomed the animals' presence and said they were welcome honorary members. He added that they were very well behaved. "We found the sea lion on the edge of our 13th fairway at the club sort of minding its own business and looking quite relaxed, so we sort of left it to do its thing," said James. Hiriwa's baby was born on the "breeding beach" but moved to the country club at around six weeks of age. James added that none of the members at the country club have reported any sort of aggressive behavior from the sea lion. "I'm imagining a new mum could be quite protective of a new baby, but so far we haven't had any reports from members about any unusual behavior or aggressive behavior, and we haven't even had member say [they've seen] the sea lion or the pup," he added.



The sea lion and her pup will stay at the golf course but the roads have been shut so the Hiriwa has free access to the ocean. Hiriwa will spend her time looking to find food in the ocean and feeding her baby and hence will be crossing the road frequently. Fyfe also added that the seal mom's placenta was thrown over a cliff, so as not to attract any dogs. The incident occurred earlier this year, and the Dunedin City Council had announced that the road would be sealed for a month, so the sea lion and its pup come under no danger from vehicles while crossing the road to access the ocean. "We've closed John Wilson Ocean Drive to vehicles for the next month to allow some special residents to use the road safely," the council posted on its official Facebook page. This will be of huge help considering baby seals are entirely dependent on their mother for food and protection.



People are still allowed to walk the road, along with cyclists. The council has issued instructions during people to maintain, at least, 20 meters from Hiriwa and the baby while crossing the road. While some may argue that the city council going overboard to protect a single sea lion and its pup, sea lions are an endangered species and considered one of the rarest species of their kind in the world. Sea lions are known to breed during summer with pups often being born during December or January. Under local law, anyone who kills a sea lion could face up to two years in prison or a fine of up to US$178,000.

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