Injured sea lion relocated after lying under car at Geraldton beach

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The seal took shelter under Conny Duerrenmatt's van.
Camera IconThe seal took shelter under Conny Duerrenmatt's van. Credit: Conny Duerrenmatt

A Geraldton woman who encountered a sea lion under her van says people should persist in calling official wildlife help lines if they come face to face with an injured marine animal.

Conny Duerrenmatt said she was not sure why a sea lion was in the carpark at St Georges Beach on Monday when she arrived to take her dogs for a run. She was further confused when the 1.5m mammal took shelter under her vehicle, but with some quick ringing around she was able to get help.

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“(It) eventually waddled under my van,” Ms Duerrenmatt said.

“Luckily I didn’t have to go anywhere.”

The sea lion appeared to be injured on both sides of its head and on its nose.
Camera IconThe sea lion appeared to be injured on both sides of its head and on its nose. Credit: Conny Duerrenmatt

Ms Duerrenmatt said the beach was quite busy and onlookers were concerned about the condition of the sea lion, as it was not moving and had visible injuries.

She said while it was relatively easy to find care organisations for animals like birds or kangaroos in trouble, she initially did not know where to turn for an injured mammal.

Some quick thinking led to multiple calls including to a vet, rangers and the fisheries department, with officers from the Parks and Wildlife service ultimately able to make it to the scene and help the sea lion.

In the meantime, a call to Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation connected her to an expert in WA who was able to reassure her over the phone that the mammal’s injuries were not life threatening.

Parks and Wildlife said it was already aware of the sea lion.

While hauling up to rest is normal behaviour for sea lions, wildlife officers have noted this sea lion has head and flipper injuries. The sea lion is being monitored by staff, however rest and recovery is the best form of treatment for its injuries at this stage.

- Parks and Wildlife spokesperson.

“While hauling up to rest is normal behaviour for sea lions, wildlife officers have noted this sea lion has head and flipper injuries.

“The sea lion is being monitored by staff, and rest and recovery is the best form of treatment .”

It said people should keep at least 10m away from sea lions on the beach and make sure they kept pets on a leash.

WA Government’s Wildcare Helpline can be reached on 9474 9055. Parks and Wildlife’s WA headquarters is on 9219 9000.

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