A baby fur seal went knocking on a Te Awanga door on Tuesday night and found itself nose to nose with a furry friend in the morning.
Bronwyn Trafford, a Te Awanga resident, woke on Wednesday morning to a surprise in the form of a small seal on her doorstep.
"My husband heard a scuffle last night and this morning when we pulled the curtain we found it on our doorstep," she said.
"We checked our video surveillance and saw it making its way up to our driveway at 11.30pm before it settled in its sleeping possie for the night in front of our doors."
The Trafford family has a blue-grey staffy dog, which took a shine to the seal (kekeno) through the glass door.
"We have a staffy and it looks quite similar to the seal, it's about the same size. This morning our staffy has had his nose up against the glass looking out at the seal, they've been nose to nose against the door," she said.
Trafford reported that the seal seems happy in the beachside neighbourhood, having taken up residence in the community for the duration of lockdown.
"The seal's been around for over three weeks in the area, lots of kids have been finding it sitting around or swimming in the lagoon opposite our place," she said.
"We haven't seen its mum but it doesn't look in poor condition, it's been really friendly and everyone's dogs have been steering clear," she said.
DoC marine science adviser Lauren Boren said the presence of the young seal in Te Awanga is not such a surprise, due to the nearby colony of kekeno at the base of Te Matau-a-Māui.
"Kekeno numbers are generally on the rise throughout the Hawke's Bay coastline and nationally, so people can expect to encounter them more often."
Boren estimated that the kekeno visiting the Trafford family in Te Awanga could be a yearling, possibly ranging from nine to 21 months old, and confirmed that the baby seal would have weaned before swimming off on its own.
"I would usually say that they will move off on their own when the time is right. It sounds like this one has been hanging around in the area for an extended time."
Boren said the family should continue as they are - providing the kekeno with ample space, not feeding it, and keeping dogs away.
"Eventually, it should depart," she said.
If the seal were to make it into the family home, Boren recommended that the family immediately get in contact with DoC services.
"We might be able to organise a contactless pick-up if the situation comes to that. As we are currently in alert level 3 most of our work is on hold unless it's an emergency."