REPORT a Leopard Seal

Please report ALL leopard seal sightings (even if you think someone else already has!);

Ways to report your sightings:

1.   PHONE; please immediately call 0800 LEOPARD (0800 5367273)
(valid in New Zealand only)

2.   FACEBOOK; report to our Facebook page: “Leopard Seal sightings NZ” (please include date and location of sighting!!)

3.   EMAIL; email – and please include the date and location of your sighting

4. ONLINE; use our Online Sighting Form below

PHOTOS; Please see our  ‘Approaching‘ & ‘Photographing‘ Leopard Seals pages for details of the types of photographs we are requesting and how to submit the images.  In summary, a left and right of the head and a left and right of the body of each animal will allow us to identify it as an individual.  Ventral (belly) shots will allow us to document if the seal you have seen is a male or female.

VIDEOS; If you have video of leopard seals in New Zealand we would like to view an uncompressed (original) version as we may be able to extract screen shots that will allow us to identify individuals or prey items.   We use the free website  If you send us an email ( from there we are able to receive files that are up to 2 Gb in size.  Please also see our  ‘Approaching‘ & ‘Photographing‘ Leopard Seals pages for details.

DATA TO COLLECT with your sighting:
Date, location (+ GPS position – can be enabled on your phone), photos/video.

SCAT (poo);
If you find leopard seal scat (the scientific name for seal poo) we would be most grateful if you could collect it.  Please check our page on how to collect scat and what we can find inside!

STATUS; If you see a seal that is:

  • severely injured
  • entangled in marine debris
  • being harassed by people or dogs

Please call the Department of Conservation emergency hotline
0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)


Add any extra details including behaviour of animal, direction they were travelling, length of animal, distinguishing features for species or individual identification (particularly useful if no photos were taken or photos aren’t great quality takes no responsibility for the actions of members of the public approaching leopard seals. It is each person’s responsibility to ensure their own safety and the well-being of the seal.  As a minimum follow these guidelines on approaching leopard seals and ALWAYS adhere to the Marine Mammal Protections Act (MMPA).