Neil, the ‘chaotic’ but cute seal from Tasmania, becomes TikTok’s newest obsession, Latest World News - The New Paper

Neil, the ‘chaotic’ but cute seal from Tasmania, becomes TikTok’s newest obsession

A 600kg southern elephant seal from Tasmania, Australia, has stolen the hearts of many after videos taken by people showing his occasional treks through their towns went viral.

Affectionately named “Neil the Seal” by the residents, Neil has been a frequent visitor of Dunalley and other towns nearby because of their proximity to the sea and the beach where Neil and other southern elephant seals lounge to relax.

However, Neil has taken to exploring the towns and creating mischief and nuisance.

Because of his size, he is unable to be safely removed from his spots once he starts lying down to sleep.

He would enter open yards and driveways of people’s homes, and has been seen sleeping in the middle of the road, and even had cars re-routed to prevent close encounters with him.

A woman reportedly was unable to drive to work because Neil was napping in front of her car, and she had to call her workplace to explain why she was late.

At other times, Neil is observed biting at traffic cones placed around him for his protection, as well as other road markers that he deems odd.

TikTok viewers just love watching Neil bring his “chaotic” behaviours out and about within the town.

He is such a popular yearly visitor for the surrounding towns that he has amassed a following and social media presence, notably an Instagram account run by a psychology student - a regular visitor to Tasmania - who keeps people updated on the mammal’s location and latest napping spot.

He also answers important questions about Neil’s behaviours from time to time.

Local wildlife authorities and the Instagram account owner have advised the locals and visitors who spot Neil to stay at least 3m away from him so as to protect him as well as the residents.

Neil was born in Salem Bay, Australia, in 2020 and was tagged after being weaned. Elephant seals come ashore to rest for up to four to five weeks after spending extended periods foraging in the open sea, and Neil took it further by venturing into town.

In an interview earlier this year, anthrozoologist Bruce Englefield said that disturbing the seals can be dangerous, as they could potentially cause harm or even death to humans. – PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK