While visiting family on the east coast of New Zealand we came upon a little baby seal or what the Scottish would call a selkie (a water spirit) lurking precariously close to the road. She was laying in a clump of harakeke flax and staring up at us with wide, black shiny eyes. I was transfixed by her and proceeded to make sure that she was OK.
She had no visible injuries and indeed appearing simply to be chilling out. Knowing nothing of roadside seals in New Zealand I waived down a passing car and dramatically asked them to use their mobile phone in order to call the Department of Conservation (DOC) about what to do with an abandoned baby seal. The people in the car were bemused, why did I care so much about one baby seal? I couldn’t explain why really…she was special.
They said to do nothing and to leave her alone. Basically her mother has left her for an extended period to go and catch fish and she will need to now fend for herself.
I did worry, leaving this long-lashed and silken creature to the elements and the dangerously close roadside, but on the advice of the experts we left her there, staring back at us with those comely and liquid black eyes.
I hope that she had the sense to get back into the Pacific rather than towards the road. In this cruel way, we let nature take its course. I toyed for hours with the idea of going back and mounting a rescue mission, despite what the DOC ranger said, but my boyfriend talked some sense into me.