A city in New Zealand has closed a stretch of road to allow a sea lion to access the beach while they care for their pup at a golf course.
New Zealand sea lion ‘Hiriwa’ broke with tradition by choosing the Chisholm Links golf course in Dunedin, on the country’s South Island, to give birth to her fifth pup.
Hiriwa regularly needs to cross John Wilson Ocean Drive, which separates the course from the beach, for a feed in the ocean while they look after their newborn.
“We’ve closed John Wilson Ocean Drive to vehicles for the next month to allow some special residents to use the road safely.
A New Zealand sea lion and her pup have taken up residence at the golf course next door and are regularly crossing the road to get to the beach,” the Dunedin City Council wrote in a Facebook Post Monday.
Mr Fyfe said he knew Hiriwa had given birth as he ‘managed to retrieve the placenta and throw it over the cliff… so it wouldn’t attract any dogs’.
Hiriwa’s fifth pup is the first to be cared for on the golf course.
This is her fifth pup, Department of Conservation (DOC) coastal Otago biodiversity ranger Jim Fyfe said.
“She has come up John Wilson Drive and into the golf course to have her pup in some bushes there,” he told Radio New Zealand.
Fyfe also told the New Zealand Herald that the pup was born Thursday, Jan. 7 and immediately made its presence known by making lots of noise.
The council said New Zealand sea lions are endangered and one of the rarest sea lion species in the world.
Chisholm Links took to Facebook to advise its golfers: ‘If you are out on the Links playing golf or going for a walk and come across it please steer clear’.
‘If you are on the course walking your pooch, please keep it under control and on a leash to ensure both dog and seal lion remain safe.
‘We’re lucky to have marine mammals on our coastline and we need to share the space with them, as this is what makes our coastal Links and Dunedin’s coastline so unique.’
New Zealand sea lion breeding season occurs over the summer months, with pupping from early December to mid-January.