Seal wanders into New Zealand road during morning commute

Morning commuters in a New Zealand city had to avoid an unusual traffic hazard when a wandering seal made its way into the road.

The Southern Police District said officers were summoned to Portobello Road, in The Cove area of Dunedin, shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday on a report of a small seal crossing the road.

A police spokeswoman said officers arrived to find the seal had taken up position in the bicycle lane at the side of the road.

The seal attracted a crowd of onlookers and witnesses helped direct cyclists around the animal in their path.

Video filmed at the scene shows the animal appears to be a New Zealand fur seal, although police were unable to confirm the species.

The New Zealand Department of Conservation said seals tend to leave their breeding colonies around this time of year to go exploring. The department recommends that anyone who encounters a seal keep a safe distance from the animal.

“DOC takes a ‘hands off’ approach to seals. They are capable and resilient and given time and space, they usually find their way home,” the department’s website states.