TODAY |

Watch: Huge elephant seal surrounded by on-lookers at Auckland's Mission Bay beach

A elephant seal has been surrounded by on-lookers at Auckland’s popular Mission Bay beach this evening as the Department of Conservation urges the public to be cautious of the creature.

Footage taken by 1 NEWS shows the enormous elephant seal surrounded by admirers at the beach safe behind a line of tape.

Normally resident in the sub-Antarctic islands, elephant seals do occasionally visit mainland coastlines.

DOC senior biodiversity ranger, Thelma Wilson says the female seal probably weighs just under a tonne.

"Elephant seals are big and heavy, but they can move surprisingly quickly," she says.

"They’re also well camouflaged and if you are not expecting to see one, will blend in with rocks. Beachgoers should be alert, keep an eye out and give seals a wide berth."

In the case of a seal sighting, DOC have the following advice for the public:

• Always keep dogs on a leash, under control and at least 20 metres away from seals
• Ensure you keep small children at a safe distance and under your control when watching seals
• Avoid getting closer than 20 metres
• Do not get between the seal and the sea
• Do not touch or feed the seal

It’s thought the seal has found its way to the Hauraki Gulf from the sub-Antarctic islands. Source: 1 NEWS