Popular seal colony tourist attraction destroyed by quake

A landslide from Monday morning's earthquake has destroyed a seal colony north of Kaikoura.

Ohau Point is a popular tourist spot on SH1 with visitors stopping to check out the seals sunbathing on the rocky shore line below. Source: Seven Sharp

Ohau Point is also a popular tourist spot on State Highway One with visitors stopping to check out the seals sunbathing on the rocky shore line below.

The video below shows how the colony used to be

It's not yet known whether the nearby Ohau Stream waterfall was also destroyed. Source: 1 NEWS

Department of Conservation Threatened Species Ambassador Nic Toki has been in contact with a Kaikoura-based DOC ranger who had been up in the air surveying the area.

"He said Ohau Point was just completely hidden beneath a slip," she said.

"It is likely that some seals would have been killed if they were in on the rocks below."

But there is a silver lining – breeding season for the New Zealand fur seal is still not officially underway for the year.

"The mothers would still be out foraging at sea before coming in for the season which starts mid-November," Ms Toki told 1 NEWS.

"There would only have been a few pups around – if any."

Seals at Ohau Point Source: 1 NEWS

There are roughly 200,000 of the species in and around New Zealand.

It's still unclear though whether the Ohau Stream and waterfall – where pups are often spotted playing in the pool beneath – has been affected by the quakes.

"There's so many slips in the area it’s impossible to tell without having a close look," Ms Toki said.

"Right now though our focus is on staff safety, helping Civil Defence with recovery effort – including that our structures and tracks are safe."

Also of concern is that the colonies of the Hutton's Shearwater may be affected.

"It's a really amazing sea bird, that nests in the snow line of the Kaikoura Ranges."

There are more than 100,000 pairs but because there are only a few colonies in the Ranges, it will be of concern if any colonies have been lost in the quakes or resulting slips.