When you think of farm animals, what kinds of animals come to mind? Perhaps cows, sheep, goats, horses, and chickens? We would almost bet money that one animal that most certainly wouldn’t come to mind is a seal.
One day while Dee Knapp was surveying his property in Invercargill, New Zealand, for new lambs he came across what he thought to be an injured bird. And boy was he wrong.
“It’s a baby seal in my paddock!” Knapp exclaimed in a video he filmed of his odd discovery.
Knapp was shocked when he came across the seal pup lying near a herd of sheep and a cow.
What made his discovery even more astonishing is that, according to Knapp, his property is a little over six miles away from the nearest beach and a mile and a quarter away from a river.
“I thought ‘wow, mate, you are lost!'” he told Newshub.
After Knapp realized the poor seal pup, which he appropriately named Lou-Seal, appeared to be motherless and would need help returning to its home he called New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. Unfortunately the only help they could give Knapp was to let nature take its course and hopefully the seal would find its way back to the ocean.
The Department of Conservation insisted he let the seal find its own way back home.
“When I saw him, my cow was stomping around him and just being a little bit overexcited,” Knapp told Newshub. “If I left him out there, he would’ve been trampled.”
New Zealand fur seals, which is what Lou-Seal was believed to be, are a protected species and are not to be disturbed by humans. Knapp knew he couldn’t leave the seal in the field to fend for itself.
He had to do something.
So, Knapp did a little research, wrapped the seal in a blanket and brought him into his home to give him a bite to eat. Once he determined that the seal had rested enough from it’s long and weary travel inland, Knapp and his family brought the seal to the beach where they released him into the ocean.
Sandie Knapp, Dee’s wife, who was present when Lou-Seal swam off into the ocean, told Stuff that her husband didn’t take the seal in because the family thought it was cute and wanted to cuddle with it instead, “we did it because it was the right thing.”
Knapp risked a $250,000 fine by bringing the seal to the ocean.
In a comment on his Facebook video, Knapp wrote that after he released the seal into the ocean, he received a call from the Department of Conservation warning him about a possible $250,000 fine for disturbing the protected animal. But he didn’t seem too concerned because he knew in his heart—and many others have agreed—that he did the right thing.