A large and apparently ageing seal had today taken up residence near a popular river and stream reserve about 8km from the sea and beside the busy Napier-Hastings highway just north of Hastings.
The seal lolled throughout the morning into the early afternoon on the eastern side of the road near the Pakowhai Regional Park, in an area bounded by Farndon and Pakowhai roads and the Whakatu Arterial, the Ngaruroro River and the Raupare Strea, and just south of the Chesterhope Bridge.
It's about 8km upstream from Clive, where a seal was seen in the Clive River at the weekend.
In a much different climatic phase of the calendar, a seal made its way about 28km upstream to a Twyford farm in early February last year, when temperatures were hitting highs of more than 30C. The temperature in Hastings about 1pm today was just over 14deg.
The Covid-19 lockdown meant there were fewer people around and the seal was able to remain in its own solitary bubble.
A DoC spokesman said it was becoming "quite commonplace" for farmers to find seals in their paddocks.
In June a media release said that between May and September, young seals and male seals of any age can be spotted as they leave their breeding colonies, explore and rest.
Kekeno would be most often found on rocky shores but curiosity might prevail and they could appear up rivers as far as 15km inland.
"It's really exciting that fur seals are doing well, and this time of year provides for some unique and special encounters with them," said science adviser Laura Boren.
"But it's important to remember this is all part of their normal behaviour and they are really resilient animals. Watch and enjoy them from a distance and follow our guidelines for when to call DoC."
DoC has a hands-off approach with seals and will only intervene if the animal is in obvious danger, such as getting too close to a road, tangled in debris, being harassed at a public beach or is seriously injured.
The advice is to never touch or handle a seal as it can be aggressive, and it is also a breach of the Marine Mammals Protection Act. People should keep a distance of at least 20 metres from kekeno, if possible, and not get between the seal and the sea.