Sydney mourns the death of “Sealvester” the seal, who took up residency in Rushcutters Bay park late last week to the delight of locals.
Taronga Wildlife Hospital has confirmed Sealvester died after he was sedated and taken away for treatment for eye and flipper wounds developed while at the park, the ABC reports.
Six hours ago, a local posted a photo on Instagram of the Australian fur seal being taken away by authorities. “The white coats have come for Sealvester,” the caption read. “I hope they bring him back.”
Earlier this week park authorities fenced off the harbourside steps to encourage the seal to return to his colony (or the nearest one on Montague Island). But he broke through the barricade and continued lapping up admiration from visitors. Social media responded in support of the seal’s freedom, using the hashtag #sealgate, and begging authorities to “let him stay.”
Shona Lorigan, a volunteer at the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans, told the ABC the seal’s condition had been rapidly declining.
“Over the last couple of days we’ve watched his condition deteriorate –particularly his eye wound,” Lorigan told the ABC. “And his body condition has also gone down hill.”
He was also underweight at 140 kilograms, instead of the 205-kilogram mark for his age and size.
Sealvester was loved for his friendly, happy nature, frolicking in the harbour, parading around the park and snoozing in the sun.