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Breeding seals return to the boys' own rock, Montague Island

Montague Island ... a mother and baby seal enjoy the sun / Pic:  NSW Parks and Wildlife Service

Source:  The Daily Telegraph March 20, 2012

THE small rocky outcrop of Montague Island off the NSW far south coast was long considered a fur seal bachelor pad

Some 9km out to sea off Narooma, it was thought to be a female-free haven for adolescent and less competitive Australian and New Zealand fur seal males to soak up the sun, catch fish and hang out with their buddies. But this breeding season the pitter patter of tiny flippers can be heard, making it the only known breeding colony in NSW.

The turnaround, confirmed by National Parks and Wildlife Service officers who have photographed more than a dozen seal pups, indicates a resurgence in numbers decimated by the seal trade in the early 1800s.

NPWS Marine Fauna Program co-ordinator Geoff Ross said: "I would not be surprised in the next 20 years that we will see such breeding colonies on other islands along NSW where it is safe and there is enough food, right up as far north as the Solitary Islands."

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