More surveillance for elephant seal

Momoa the elephant seal making headlines in Whakatane has been introduced to round the clock surveillance following reports onlookers are getting a little too close to the wild beast.

The juvenile male, believed to be 3 years old, has spent most of the past month on the shores of the Whakatāne River mouth.

There are reports people are dancing around in front of him, having loud conversations all just a few metres from him.

DOC's website states elephant seals can easily crush a person simply by rolling over, and their teeth can inflict serious wounds.

It's an offense to disturb, harass, harm, injure or kill a seal, or if your dog does, and if charges are laid, the maximum penalty is two years' imprisonment or a fine of up to 250-thousand dollars.

Sam Gardner