New Zealand city closes busy road for a month to let sea lion mother and pup nest safely

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The Dunedin City council in New Zealand announced recently that it would close a busy and popular road to vehicles for a month to allow a sea lion to nest safely with its pup.

In a post on Facebook, the city council said that the John Wilson Ocean Drive in Dunedin would be close to aid “some special residents to use the road safely.”

“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 Facebook post said.

However, the road is not inaccessible: one can access it on a bicycle or by foot.

“You can still visit the area by foot or bicycle, but please give the sea lions lots of space (at least 20m). If you’re walking your dog in the area, please keep it on a lead as sea lions can be hard to spot.”

The residents applauded the decision of the council, with many also saying that council must make the prohibition permanent to protect vulnerable wildlife.

One comment by a resident said, “Awesome! Love our little country in this way” while another said “Excellent! Make it permanent!” Another resident, clearly delighted by the decision said, “Thank you DCC. We sure do live in a wonderful place!”

New Zealand sea lions are endangered and one of the rarest sea lion species in the world.

According to the Department of Conservation in New Zealand, there are just about 12,000 New Zealand sea lions left in the island nation. However, the government is doing its bit to protect them – under the law, anyone who kills a sea lion could face up to two years in prison or a fine of up to NZ$250,000 (US$178,000).

Just a little thoughtfulness towards our fellow creatures could go a long way in making them feel safe. Do you agree? What do you think of this decision by the council? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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