Episode 4 - Sea Lion
About the show
The New Zealand sea lion is the most endangered sea lion on earth. It is also intensely charismatic, over friendly, and as interested in the camera as our host Kina Scollay is of them. In a series of intimidating in-water encounters, we get to know these ebullient giants. Kina is pushed through the water by a 400kg bull. Small pups pluck up the courage to join him in sheltered pools. When they do, it’s play time. This is an ocean predator that is intensely powerful. They can eat fur seals for lunch, and are excessively graceful at the same time.
Down at Port Pegasus, Stewart Island, we are on the scene as a great discovery for the species is made. Kina joins researchers who track sea lions through the bush to where they’ve stashed their young. Enough pups are counted to prove a watershed moment: for the first time, there is a proven sea lion breeding colony outside of the Subantarctic Islands. This could be the first step back from the brink of extinction in nearly 200 years.
In Marlborough, Kina sets out to find the sea lion’s cousin, the New Zealand fur seal. Theirs is a more robust comeback story and they’re now found all around our coastline. In the waters of the Marlborough Sounds he finds the wildlife cameraman’s dream: diving gannets, schools of fish panicked into a bait ball, seals and dusky dolphins performing a live-action hunt, all right in front of the camera.