Our Latest News

PWS Public Safety Alert

16/01/2019

There has been considerable thunderstorm activity across the state overnight. Some fires have started in remote areas and the situation is being assessed as a matter of urgency.More

PWS Public Safety Update

16/01/2019

The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service is concentrating on its main priority - the safety of walkers and people in fire-affected parks and reserves.

More

Gell River Fire update 14 January 2019 4.00 pm

15/01/2019

A fire is burning within the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, to the north of the Denison Range and through the Vale of Rasselas.More

Leopard Seal, Hydrurga leptonyx

Leopard seals are one of the most awesome marine predators and the only seal to regularly prey on warm-blooded animals such as penguins, birds and other seals. Female leopard seals are actually larger than males and can reach 600 kg and 3.6 m in length. Leopard seals are more slender than elephant seals, having a long streamlined body, constricted neck and a massive lizard-like head. They are coloured grey above and light grey below with dark spots (hence the name 'leopard' seal). Although both the elephant and leopard seal breed far to the south of Tasmania, individuals migrate into our waters and may come ashore to rest. Usually people assume the seal is sick or injured, however, often the seal is just resting and will head south after they have concluded their 'holiday'!

Please contact Parks and Wildlife if you see a Leopard seal. It is important for your own safety not to disturb the animal. It is recommended that observers keep a 10 metre distance from animal. See our guidelines for observing seals in the wild for further information.

Leopard seals breed on the Antarctic pack ice and range from the Antarctic coast to the sub-antarctic and sub-tropical seas. An average of five leopard seals visit the coast of Tasmania each year, but up to 18 have been sighted in one year (1990). In 1999, four leopard seals were reported.

'Scats' or faeces have been collected from leopard seals that haul out in Tasmania and studies indicate that whilst in Tasmanian waters the seals are preying upon shearwaters, cormorants and little penguins, as well as cephalopods and fish.

Leopard seals use a range of vocalisations as you can hear here.