Beach walkers fear a distressed young seal missing its mother on the Christchurch shoreline will not make it without help.
They had to chase off dogs worrying the seal pup which strayed about four days ago on Waimairi Beach just north of the lifesaving club.
Resident Wendy Hill said she was walking her dog at the beach yesterday when she came across the seal.
She has seen enough seals on the beach to recognise this one wasn't looking flash, Hill said.
"I recognised he was fairly tiny. He looked very emaciated and dehydrated."
She said other people at the beach were also concerned and told her the seal was in a better condition a few days ago.
Hill went to look for the seal this morning without any luck and is worried it is suffering.
The Department of Conservation said it is making inquiries, but the normal policy is to let nature take its course.