Aotearoa's leopard seals

Leopard seals are probably not an animal you are particularly familiar with. Most of them live in Antarctic. But an unknown number of them make their home in New Zealand waters, and sometimes cities.

You may wonder how they can be happy living in the Antarctic one minute and then on pontoons in Auckland’s city centre the next. That’s a good question. One we simply don’t know enough about leopard seals to answer.

In fact, there are far too many questions about leopard seals we can’t answer. Including how many of them there are living in New Zealand. Their threat status is At Risk. But how at risk they really are is unclear. ​​And by the time we figure it out, it might be too late. We need to know more. 

Please donate now to support research on leopard seals

My name is Dr. Krista van der Linde and I’m WWF’s Marine Species Programme Manager, working to ensure our country’s beloved marine taonga are protected.

I believe that research is absolutely vital to conservation. And for our marine species, desperately needed.

Two-thirds of New Zealand’s marine mammals have a big question mark next to their name when it comes to threat status. They could be doing well, or on the brink of extinction. We don’t know.

Leopard seals, each with their unique spot patterns, are among the species we don't know enough about. We need to learn more. So we can understand the threats to them and how best to protect them. 

Your donation will help us research and protect this taonga species.



WWF-New Zealand is working with

Call 0800 LEOPARD (0800 536 7273) to report a leopard seal sighting or visit them to find out more about the species in New Zealand