A seal on the loose in South Auckland has been caught by emergency services.
The Papakura seal has been herded down to the reserve near the estuary by police and firefighters and is currently being monitored by Department of Conservation staff.
"Hopefully will just jump back in and swim home," an emergency services source said.
The appearance of the seal on a road this morning surprised commuters and brought out the animal wranglers.
The seal, believed to be a fur seal, waddled its way into the middle of the road, with the call out to Coles Crescent coded a "mammal hazard".
The Herald understood that marine experts had been called upon to tranquilise the seal, and move it to either Auckland Zoo or Kelly Tarlton's.
However, the animal is now in the hands of DOCs.
When Danny Yong woke up this morning and found his house surrounded by police and firefighters - he naturally panicked.
"I thought I'd got myself into trouble somehow. Then my flatmates went outside and saw a seal in the driveway," he said.
Unbeknown to Mr Yong, the now-named Papakura Seal had settled into his Coles Cres driveway and was in no hurry to move.
"It was very, very cool. We were trapped in the house for about three hours while police tried to move it," he told the Herald.
"It was just relaxing, doing nothing in the driveway. It was lying down in front of my door."
Emergency services staff made a makeshift enclosure out of plywood to stop the seal getting away from them, and eventually managed to coax the mammal to the estuary opposite Mr Yong's home.
"It's the first time I've had a seal in my driveway," he said.
"It was pretty interesting."
Commuter Michael Saxon said the sight of the animal had freaked out a few drivers.
"I was really surprised, I definitely wasn't expecting that," he said. "It was kind of just plodding along the road, it was heading towards the Papakura township. A few motorists were pulling over and freaking out."
He said the seal was enormous. "It was definitely the weirdest thing I've seen on the way to work - hands down."
Katrina Ward was on her way to uni with a friend when she spotted the seal. "It was quite relaxed just sitting in the park," she said.
"It must of been there for quite awhile, as the tide goes out in the early hours of the morning."
Nearby residents had been advised to stay indoors until the seal has been caught.
The news of the rogue seal spawned a Twitter parody account. On it the seal posed: "You'll never take me alive! Well... unless you have fish. #brunchtime."
The account described the seal as: "Just a fish out of water - well, technically a mammal, but you get the drift." (Read the tweets below.)
DOCs gave warning that all seals should be treated with caution.
"Although very charismatic, they are wild animals and should be treated with respect," they said. "In general seals and sea lions should be enjoyed from a distance without interference."
• Always stay at least 20 m from seals. Allow them space if they are active.
• Don't disturb seals. Don't make loud noises or throw objects in their vicinity.
• Always keep dogs and small children under control and away from seals.
• Never attempt to touch or handle a seal. They can be aggressive if threatened.
• You can also catch diseases from seals through their skin, sneezes, coughs and barks, and you may also carry diseases that can transfer to them and make them ill.
• Do not feed any seal.
Lower Hutt copycat
Auckland's loose seal has a copycat down the line, with another marine mammal washing up in Lower Hutt.
The second seal was spotted in the Lower Hutt suburb of Waiwhetu, after it made its way up the Waiwhetu stream and past the old Griffin's factory.
Pictures tweeted of the seal show it spending a relaxed morning sunning itself on a riverbank near the Open Polytechnic campus.
It was the first sighting of a seal on the campus, Open Polytechnic chief executive Caroline Seelig told Fairfax.
Twitter user @KiwiSlytherin tweeted that "everyone is running outside to see it".
SEALS: Five things you need to know
1. Seals belong to a group of mammals known as "pinnipeds" which have streamlined bodies and limbs modified into flippers.
2. Pinnipeds are divided into three families: walruses, true seals and eared seals. True seals do not have external ears, cannot turn their hind flippers forward (therefore can not walk on them), and have fur on both surfaces of their flippers.
3. A large group of seals during breeding is called a harem.
4. Adult males are called bulls and females are called cows, while a young seal is a pup. Immature males are sometimes called SAMs (sub-adult males) or bachelors.
5. All seals, whales and dolphins are protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978.