Bunnings manager in disbelief as seal walks into the store

Seals found in Bunnings are usually used to secure windows or doors, and don't normally come with whiskers and fur.

When a Bunnings store manager was told a seal had wandered into her store, she thought her staff were having her on.

It was around 6.30am on Monday and the Whangārei warehouse, on New Zealand's north island, had just opened when Sara Yates was told the wild marine mammal had wandered into the delivery yard.

Pictures shared with Yahoo News Australia reveal what happened next. Dishwashers, ovens and other heavy products were placed in a circle around the seal, forming a makeshift holding pen.

A Bunnings staff member and a seal walking down an aisle in a store.
"Can I help you?" A seal surprised staff when wandering into a Bunnings store in New Zealand. Source: Supplied

“I’m so proud of my team as they troubleshot this very random Monday morning situation,” Sara said.

What happened to the Bunnings seal?

Two rangers from the Department of Conservation (DOC) were told the seal had crossed the road before entering Bunnings.

They hauled the New Zealand fur seal, known locally as a kekeno into their vehicle and drove it to the nearby Reotahi marine reserve.

Left: the seal surrounded by objects in Bunnings. Right: A close-up of the seal.
All exits sealed... heavy appliances were placed around the intruder by Bunnings staff. Source: Supplied

Is it rare to find seals in public places?

Seals are often found in unusual places across New Zealand. “Despite it happening every winter, it takes people by surprise,” DOC science advisor Laura Boren said.

Last year, one was found 90km inland on the set of The Hobbit film, and there have been numerous sightings around the country in 2023.

Reads 'What on Earth' 'There are over 1900 species threatened with extinction in Australia' a collage of animals and a map of Australia
Reads 'What on Earth' 'There are over 1900 species threatened with extinction in Australia' a collage of animals and a map of Australia

Do seals behave the same way in Australia?

Across the ditch in Australia, locals flocked to see a 400kg male called “Neil the Seal” who made its home in a Tasmanian park.

Authorities warned rubberneckers to stay away because while it looked cute it could be dangerous. Anthrozoologist Dr Bruce Englefield went one step further warning the animal “could kill you”.

“As soon as you give them a name, people think of them as being like humans. It creates a problem of thinking he’s a lovely and cuddly, but he’s not — he’s a 400kg wild animal,” he said.

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