Our Latest News

Fly Neighbourly Advice for the Tasman National Park

24/08/2019

Public comment is invited on the draft Tasman National Park Fly Neighbourly Advice. The draft Fly Neighbourly Advice has been prepared by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service in response to increasing air traffic over the Tasman National Park.More

Hybrid diesel-electric shuttle buses at Cradle Mountain - a first for National p

19/08/2019

When you next visit Cradle Mountain you will be able to step aboard one of the new hybrid, diesel-electric, shuttle buses on your trip to Dove Lake. These new buses will reduce emissions and deliver a quieter, all mobility friendly, visitor experience.More

AFAC Independent Operational Review of the 2018-19 bushfires

08/08/2019

Following the 2018-19 bushfires the Tasmanian Government commissioned an independent report by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Council to review the overall response and identify areas where more can be done to improve the State's response andMore

Southern Elephant Seal, Mirounga leonina

Southern elephant seals are the largest of all seals with males reaching 4 - 5 m in length and 2 200 kg in weight. Females are much smaller at 2 - 3 m in length and only 500 kg in weight. Southern elephant seals are coloured rusty grey-brown and are covered with thick blubber. Mature males have a large 'trunk', or proboscis which is used to amplify their vocalisations and, together with their bulk, gives rise to their name 'elephant' seal. They often appear cumbersome and indifferent to humans yet, despite their awkwardness, the speed with which they can move their bulk makes them potentially dangerous if harassed.

Southern elephant seals once bred in Tasmania on King Island but were wiped out by the sealing industry. There have been several births of Elephant seals recorded in Tasmania. On Maatsuyker Island there have been two recordings of Elephant seals giving birth with a pup born in 1977 and one in 1998. Around the coast of mainland Tasmania, there have been two records of females with pups including one at Strahan on the West coast in 1958 when a cow gave birth in the main street, and one near St Helens on the East coast in 1977.

Their diet consists mainly of squid.

Each year in Tasmania an average of three elephant seals are reported. The age of the animals visiting our shores varies from 'underyearling' and yearling animals (less than a year old and one year old respectively), to animals of 16 or more years of age.

Often people mistake the elephant seal for a sick or shot fur seal. The genital area is unfortunately mistaken by many people for a gun shot wound. Elephant seals have bloody-looking mouths, which is perfectly normal for this species but often alarms people who have not seen the species before.

The closest breeding area of elephant seals is Macquarie Island. Here, there is an estimated population of 86 000 animals; however, the population is declining at a rate of 2.5% per annum.