A Southland man was greeted with a big surprise this morning when he went to check a paddock for newborn lambs and instead found a "beautiful, silky blue" seal pup.
"What the hell, that's a baby seal," said a shocked Dee Knapp as he walked towards a lump in the grass.
Mr Knapp shared video footage of the moment he found a newborn kekeno (fur seal) pup lost among his sheep and cows this morning.
After collecting the wet pup he told 1 NEWS NOW he gave the Department of Conservation a call who said it was best to leave the pup, which would find it's way back to the ocean.
But Mr Knapp lives 2km from the Waiau River, and 10km from the nearest beach, and he was worried neighbours' dogs or other animals would attack the pup.
So he decided to dry him off, give him a warm place to eat before driving him to Blue Cliff beach, where he hopes its "natural instincts will kick in".
"His mum may have swum up the Waiau River to give birth, but it's strange because they are normally born between November and January.
"So this is out of character," he said.
"It is currently pup weaning season for New Zealand kekeno which means it's not uncommon to find them along our shorelines at this time of year," DOC Science Advisor, Marine Species and Threats, Laura Boren said in a statement.
"In Southland they've been found as far inland as Edendale in the past."
She said DOC has a "hands-off" policy when it comes to seals and only intervene if they are in obvious danger, such as tangled by debris or close to a road.
"Our advice is to never touch or handle a seal – they can be very aggressive if threatened and it is also a breach of the Marine Mammals Protection Act.
"It's important to remember that a seal's natural habitat is cold and wet and removing them or taking them inside is very detrimental to their health.
"These animals are also very clever and have the potential to become accustomed to humans very easily, prohibiting them from returning to a normal life at sea."