The Sydney Opera House attracts more than 8 million visitors annually and today is hosting a special guest – a New Zealand fur seal.
The male seal was spotted on the Opera House forecourt by startled security guards at around 4am and has spent most of the day sunning himself on the VIP steps in the northwestern corner, snoozing despite impressive harbour views, and taking the occasional dip to cool off.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) officials estimate he’s about 3-years-old and weighs around 100kg.
A spokesperson said he looks in very good condition and well fed. He’s believed to have moved from his recent digs at Walsh Bay to this more desirable suburb.
The nearest breeding colony of New Zealand fur seals is based at Montague Island off the NSW south coast.
“We have seals in Sydney harbour quite regularly,” the spokesperson said. “The waterway is clean and it looks like there’s plenty for him to eat.”
Officials have fenced off the area to both to protect sightseers and to stop the seal climbing the steps and heading to the Opera Bar for a beer and fish and chips on such a glorious Sydney afternoon.
The seal does not have a name and NPWS won’t be giving him one.
“That would be unscientific,” the spokesperson said.
Others have suggested Benny, after Bennelong, the Aboriginal Australian the point is named after.
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