Authorities are searching for an injured Australian Sea Lion, last seen in Burrill Lake inlet in the early hours of January 1.
The Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) has appealed for public assistance to locate the mammal.
“We first received phone calls about it about 1pm on December 31,” ORRCA vice president Shona Lorigan said.
“It returned to the water and we received more calls from the public at 6pm.
“We had authorities and a vet out with the animal to assess it very quickly, however for safety reasons authorities took the decision to stand down around 8.30pm when the animal returned yo the water.
“It hauled out again at 3.45am on January 1 and by first light at 5am responders arrived, however have not been able to locate the sea lion since.”
A member of the public spotted the injured animal at Collers Beach, Mollymook later in the morning.
Ms Lorigan said the sea lion is a male with a large wound, requiring urgent attention, visible on its rear flippers.
“It has a 15 centimetre laceration with a couple of smaller lacerations on the flippers,” she said.
“We have no idea of the cause, however the initial assessment has raised concern over the condition of the animal.
“If people see is call us and stay at least 40 metres away, this is regulation, but we also want to ensure the animal does not becomes stressed and of course we want to keep people safe.”
Once the sea lion is located ORRCA will coordinate with the National Parks Association, RSPCA and local veterinarians to assess and treat the animal.
With an estimated population of 14,730 Australian Sea Lions in the wild their conservation status is listed as endangered.
If you have seen the sea lion in the last 24 hours please contact ORRCA’s 24 hour marine mammal hotline on 02 9415 3333.