Seal sighted swimming in Rūātoki

By Mere McLean

The image of a seal in Ruatoki waters has gone viral on Facebook and for Ruatoki locals; the sight has drawn their curiosity.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) says the seal has travelled 40km up the river to Ruatoki.

DoC believes that it's a male seal that has likely followed whitebait up the river. It's not usual for seals to travel upstream, but it's the first time the department has seen one come this far inland to Ruatoki.

It's believed that the seal has travelled further up the river past Waikirikiri. DoC is urging people not to approach the seal and says that he'll eventually swim back out to sea.