Wandering sea lion searching for pup

Gem, the sea lion, in the Tomahawk Lagoon yesterday. Below: Gem on the Chisholm Park Golf Course on Saturday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Gem, the sea lion, in the Tomahawk Lagoon yesterday. Below: Gem on the Chisholm Park Golf Course on Saturday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Gem the sea lion was yesterday roaming Dunedin's Chisholm Park Golf Course and nearby coastal areas, apparently in search of her pup.

Her calls for the pup, who died last month, have been heard both by golfers and by residents around Tomahawk Lagoon.

She first turned up on the course on Saturday, slightly perturbing the more than 100 golfers on the course, before returning to the lagoon.

She again travelled across the golf course yesterday morning, appearing to have made her way from the beach below Lawyers Head.

Department of Conservation marine ranger Jim Fyfe followed her path, discovering she had scampered down the hill behind the eighth hole to cool off in the lagoon.

Police were then called about 6.40pm when she turned up on Tomahawk Rd. After police arrived at the scene they saw her swimming away, Acting Senior Sergeant Paul McLaughlan said.

Mr Fyfe said her actions showed the strength of a sea lion's maternal feelings. She could continue the search for a week or more, he believed. The pup was born at Tomahawk and Doc had tried to protect it, Gem and its father with a fence and by moving the sea lion family down the beach further away from the public.

An autopsy on the pup at Massey University confirmed it died of disease. Testing was under way to determine what the disease was.

Few pups have been born along Otago's coast this summer.

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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