An adult Australian fur seal that took off on a Boxing Day jaunt through a Launceston suburb is being returned to the wild.
The seal, dubbed ‘Mr Lou-seal’ by Tasmania Police, was first spotted about 5.45am in the middle of a road in the suburb of Newstead, in Launceston’s east.
It had moved from the parklands next to a nearby waterway, venturing into the street and climbing onto a car parked in a driveway, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
The animal was cordoned off by police and onlookers were urged to stay clear before it was eventually tranquilised by a Parks and Wildlife officer.
Parks and Wildlife officers were called in from Hobart, two hours away, to help remove the seal. It took six people to carry the animal into a trailer. Australian fur seals can weigh up to 360kg.
Tasmania Police confirmed the seal was on its way back into the wild on Monday morning.
“After a sealiously big morning, Mr ‘Lou-Seal’ (as nicknamed by Tasmania Police) is now a sealebrity and has been collected from Penquite Road, Newstead, by Parks & Wildlife officers,” it posted on Facebook.
“After a medical check-up he will be released.
“Tasmania Police thank the public for staying at a safe distance.”
It is believed the seal had come up through a nearby waterway.
Tasmania Police Sgt Renee Stewart said the seal had been had been “basically chilling out enjoying his Boxing Day morning”.
“He’s sleeping behind a couple of parked cars in a resident’s driveway,” she told Sky News.
Sgt Stewart said there was a river across the road from where the seal had ended up.
That was police believed the seal had made its way into suburbia, she said.
“He took a bit of a shining to a resident’s vehicle, which he lay on and had a bit of a sleep on,” she said.
He then climbed up and over the roof, leaving “considerable damage to that vehicle,” she said.
The Australian fur seal seal can grow to 2m, and is the world’s fourth-rarest seal species, according to Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service.
The people inside the house behind the cordon were unable to leave for several hours.