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He hardly moves but this seal s a star
Picture: The West Australian/Bill Hatto

UPDATED: The Sorrento seal is back by popular demand after a leisurely cruise along the coast.

A Department of Parks and Wildlife spokesman said the seal swam towards Scarborough before returning to its favoured beach about 11am.

At 2pm, it was sitting just south of the patch of sand it called home for the previous three days.

The sub-adult male’s pulling power will be on display again tonight, with hundreds of people expected to gather at Sorrento as word of the seal's return spreads.

Parks and Wildlife senior officer Rick Dawson said visitors should not use camera flash and torches near the seal after 10pm.

"We have noticed that the seal does not react well to bright lights at night as it is possibly interfering with his ability to be able to rest at night," he said.

The hulking elephant seal that captured Perth’s imagination this week ended its Sorrento stopover this morning.

The seal’s surprise cameo came to a close in the early hours of the morning.

Picture: The West Australian/Nic Ellis

Disappointed beachgoers took to Twitter to announce his obvious absence.

Some speculated he had decided to challenge himself by joining in the Rottnest Channel Swim.

Department of Parks and Wildlife spokesman Rick Dawson said he wouldn’t be surprised if the seal hauled itself on to other Perth beaches in coming days.

“Around 1.30am, the seal became active, arched its back and raised its head,” he said.

“It let out a few loud sounds and then entered the water and swam around for a couple of minutes before heading back into the beach.

“It turned back to the water around 2.05am and swam out quite deep, where we lost sight of it.”

And it wasn't long before the Department said the seal was back.

The celebrity seal in his new location. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

What's his name? How do you know it's a male? Did it beach itself? How long has it been here? When will it go back?

Amid the din of curious onlookers, the questions to wildlife officers flew thick and fast yesterday on the pearly white sands of Sorrento Beach.

The subject: the two-tonne elephant seal lying just metres away who has found celebrity.

Every since hauling himself on to the beach three days ago, the "sub-adult" male seal has captivated people across Perth and online.

thewest.com.au set up streaming online video of the seal and was getting thousands of hits every hour.

The celebrity seal in his new location. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

He has his own Twitter account with more than 500 followers and Tourism Australia saw his potential among its Twitter audience of 100,000.

Despite a beating hot sun, more than 100 bystanders crowded the beach most of yesterday for a look an animal that usually calls Antarctica home.

It wasn't as if the seal was going anywhere - after watching for a whole hour, he was seen to barely lift an eyelid.

But the beach atmosphere took on a carnival-like quality regardless as people set up cameras on tripods, brought eskies full of drinks and generally gawked on.

CLICK BELOW TO VIEW REPLAY FROM PART OF TODAY'S SEAL CAM COVERAGE:

Such was the interest in the (as yet officially) unnamed seal, errant motorists who had to park on verges and median strips were slapped with City of Joondalup fines.

Lichelle Jess, a 19-year-old student from Kinross, accused the council of "taking advantage of the fact the seal was there and the carpark was full".

Ms Jess said she was fined for an unspecified amount for parking on a median strip though her car did not obstructing anything and she had only put it there because no bays were available.

"I'm not happy," she said.

"There was no need for it. I wasn't hurting anyone and my car was not blocking anything."

The celebrity seal in his new location. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Although Joondalup mayor Troy Pickard was unavailable for comment, it is understood the council issued the fines after an increase in complaints about illegal parking.

Some complaints are believed to have come from residents whose driveways were blocked and police are also understood to have voiced concerns about parked cars blocking West Coast Highway.

A spokesman said the council did not issue fines on Wednesday and Thursday despite similar circumstances.

On the beach, Lorraine and Phil Miners, of Woodvale, said they drawn simply by fascination. And they were not disappointed, saying the seal was "fantastic" - hearty praise for an animal that barely moved.

Amateur photographer Shane Nikodemski was similarly glowing, saying he hoped the seal made Sorrento his home.

The celebrity seal in his new location. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian