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Protection of pakake

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There are a few simple things we can do to help protect pakake. Image: LEARNZ.

Pakake, these awesome sea lions, used to chill all along New Zealand's coast and subantarctic islands, but now their crew is getting smaller. If you want to be a hero and help these guys out, here's the lowdown.

Spotting pakake

So, how do you know if you're vibing with a pakake or not? Kekeno, the New Zealand fur seals have this pointy nose thing going on and are a bit smaller. They love the rocky spots, while pakake are all about those sandy beaches.

Diagram from Department of Conservation - https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/marine-mammals/seals/new-z...

male sea lion
Male sea lion
Image: Laura Boren | Department of Conservation

male fur sealMale fur seal
Image: Katherine Clements | Department of Conservation
female sea lion
Female sea lion
Image: Hannah Hendriks | Department of Conservation
female fur seal
Female fur seal
Image: Katherine Clements | Department of Conservation

If you see a sea lion

If you're lucky enough to spot a pakake, you're basically encountering one of the rarest sea lions on the planet. These legends are nationally critical and protected by law. Don't mess with them – it's illegal to disturb, harass, harm, injure, or take out a pakake sea lion. Even your furry friend on a leash needs to play it cool.

How to act

Play it cool too, okay? Keep your distance, like at least 10 metres. If your dog's rocking with you, give them 20 metres of space. Pakake are curious and not afraid of humans, so don't sprint away – they might think you're up for a game. Back off slowly without staring them down. You can stroll between them and the water, except if they're heading for a swim.

Keep an eye out for camouflaged kake female sea lions hiding in the dunes. Image: LEARNZ.

Extra tips

  • Check for road signs if you're cruising in your ride – slow down if you see sea lions.
  • If you're in the water and spot a pakake, swim away slowly.
  • Keep an eye out for camouflaged kake female sea lions hiding in the dunes.

Slow down on the road if you see pakake. Image: LEARNZ.

Reporting pakake sightings

Be a hero and report any pakake sightings to the Department of Conservation (DOC) hotline at 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) or do it online. Share all the deets – date, time, location (GPS if you're fancy), distinguish between whakahao male and kake female, count how many sea lions, estimate their sizes and snap pics or videos if you can.

Emergency mode

If you witness a sea lion in deep trouble – severely injured, tangled up in trash, or getting hassled by humans or dogs – again, hit up the DOC conservation emergency hotline at 0800 DOC HOT.

Let's keep these pakake legends safe and sound!

Call 0800 DOC HOT if you see pakake in danger. Image: LEARNZ.

Try the Protection of pakake quiz.

Discover more

  • The New Zealand Sea Lion Trust
    Founded in 2003, The New Zealand Sea Lion Trust was established to provide protection to and education about this critically endangered marine mammal species.

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