Leopard seals are protected under the New Zealand Marine Mammals Protection Act (1978).
It is an offence under the MMPA to disturb, harass, harm, injure or kill any seal. A dog owner whose dog attacks a seal could face prosecution.
Anyone charged under the MMPA with harassing, disturbing, injuring or killing a seal faces a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment or a fine to a maximum of $250,000.
Dog owners, whose dog attacks a seal, could face prosecution.
The key to watching leopard seals safely is;
1. Keep your distance. Stay at least 20 metres away and don’t startle her. (However, if you do find yourself closer than 20 metres from her, stay calm and quietly move away).
2. Avoid getting between any seal and the water.
3. Keep children and dogs away from seals and under control.
4. NEVER attempt to feed leopard seals.