Owha the leopard seal has once again made her way back to Northland.
Department of Conservation spokesperson Abi Monteith said yesterday the well-known, three-metre-long leopard seal was at Marsden Cove.
However, Monteith said Owha may move to the Town Basin or Tutukaka beaches, similar to movements she has made in previous years.
Owha has commuted between Auckland's Viaduct Harbour and Whangārei regularly over the past few years.
Monteith said DOC will be putting signage up to let people know she is around and what people should do.
She said people should essentially treat Owha like any other seal. The general rules are: stay 20 metres away, keep children away, keep dogs well away from the seal and on a leash, don't get between the seal and the water, don't make loud noises or throw objects and don't feed the seal under any circumstances.
Monteith said DOC does not need to be made aware of her presence unless she is entangled/caught or has a serious wound, is being harassed by people or dogs, or is threatening the safety of people.
Owha is very easy to recognise as she had two distinctive parallel marks on the right side of her back and a v-shaped scar on the left side of her mouth. She had been spotted at Auckland's Westhaven Marina, Great Barrier, Waiheke and other Hauraki Gulf islands, and Northland.
A post on the Leopard Seal NZ facebook page asked for anyone who saw a leopard seal to take lots of photos and report the sighting to them on 0800 LEOPARD as soon as possible.
It has a series of instructions for photographing leopard seals for identification. As part of that it said the minimum to identify an individual leopard seal are photographs of the left and right sides of the face and body, and the underside of its belly.
People should remain 20 metres away when taking photos and use a zoom lens or zoom on their phone.