Paul - Interpretive Officer

How did you come to this job?

Prior to this job I was a community environment officer for a local council in Adelaide. We gave the council the ideas and the projects, then sought the funding to make small, but significant changes along the coast.

I have always been interested in animals and their environments, so Seal Bay was an amazing opportunity at the right time for me.

What do you most like about your work?

I have lived and breathed Seal Bay since its early days. I love the life stories of the individual sea lions. For example, the mother of female 82 was rescued from marine debris caught around her neck. When I arrived, Female 82 was a pup (a bit like me!) and now, many years later, she’s been a mum to several pups.

As a pup she survived an attack by another sea lion, leaving a scar on her neck, and she survived a shark attack that left a scar across her rump. Because of these two scars she is the most recognisable animal in the colony. Ask the guides at Seal Bay about her story when you visit.

What’s the most amazing thing you’ve seen at work?

I think ‘amazing’ happens each time we take a tour group into this wild colony.

My own most amazing event was watching a pup being born on the main beach. Even now this is a rare occurrence as the sea lions tend to shelter away in rocky areas. This particular female struggled for hours with a breach birth. When the pup finally came out there was a big sigh of relief from the audience – and probably from the mum and pup too.

What fascinates you about the Australian sea lion?

The Australian sea lion has a very different breeding pattern to other animals – being 18 months long. The investment that each mum has to put into her pup is phenomenal.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your own time?

I love photography. My favourite shots are animal portraits. I hope to portray the character or spirit in my photos. I also love the challenge of action shots, especially with birds in flight or seals in the water.