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Elephant Seal Gains The World’s Attention and Celebrity Status



Quick Smiles:

  • A monumental elephant seal residing near Hobart, Tasmania, has been granted celebrity status on social media.
  • Traffic controller Jason showcases his unique friendship with the seal, named Neil, through his TikTok account, collecting millions of likes.
  • Even after causing substantial property damage, Neil remains a cherished member of the community, especially with Jason and a local homeowner named Davo.

They have sedated our Neil the Seal and taken him away from us all. Bye my BIG boy toll we meet again 🧔‍♂️🦭@Neil the Seal 🦭

♬ original sound – Jaycee

A gigantic elephant seal named Neil recently captured the world’s attention with his flair for the limelight and camera-ready demeanor. He’s made a second home in a rural town outside of Hobart, Tasmania, and has also formed an unlikely human friendship with a traffic controller named Jason.

Jason, tasked with managing traffic flow in the region, frequently shares instances of his interaction with the hefty aquatic mammal on his TikTok account @Jaycee904. In a post from May 10, Jason warmly greets, “Hello, my big boy! We meet again,” as he films Neil lounging next to some wooden boards on a sandy path.

In another gripping video from May 5, Neil tries to follow Jason home by shuffling along the dry ground. Jason kindly tells his mammoth friend, “You can’t come with us, Neil,” leading the seal to a sudden stop.

“I know you’re lonely here, but you just can’t come, bud. I’d love to take you home,” Jason adds, further demonstrating the sincere bond he has cultivated with the marine creature.


These periodic updates on Neil have been the source of millions’ fascination, creating a flood of likes and comments. Several viewers, understandably perplexed, have asked, “Where is the water?” and “Why is nobody talking about how a seal is in the middle of a forest?”

Answering these questions requires understanding that elephant seals possess unique habits. Elephant seals do spend significant months at sea foraging, but they return to land during winter. As Australia is currently transitioning into their cooler months, Neil, having spent the warmer months hunting for food in the ocean, has returned to his terrestrial stomping grounds near Hobart.

Despite Neil’s impressive size, he is not fully grown. A fully mature southern elephant seal male can reach an astonishing weight of up to 8,800 pounds and grow up to 20 feet in length.

Jason shared the tale of his first encounter with Neil on December 11, reminiscing, “Neil the Seal decided to swim out of the water, walk up the boat ramp, stood right up in my face and gave me a big burp.”

This sudden meeting led to Neil deciding to park himself in the middle of the road, complicating Jason’s work as he had to control traffic around the relaxing seal. In the end, the police were called to remove Neil from his chosen resting spot, an event which Jason documented on video, showing Neil being chased into the water “for the very first time.”

This event caused the complete closure of the road by the council, giving Jason an unexpected day off and plenty of time to interact and record more footage with Neil. Since then, Jason has been documenting Neil’s various antics, which range from dancing with traffic poles, obstructing paths, to “doing something special.”


Neil has chosen one specific house in Dunalley, a town outside Hobart, as his favorite spot. This choice has not come without repercussions. Davo, the homeowner, has tolerated Neil’s intrusions “even after him doing over $10,000 worth of damage to his house.”

After a foraging journey at sea in January, Neil returned on May 3 and Jason sought him out. Jason recounted that Neil “actually knew who I was, believe it or not, and I spent over an hour with Neil, and he didn’t want us to leave. So he chased us down a big hill making crying noises.”

Jason has opted to keep Neil’s current location a secret, as the popularity of this enormous seal has already led to numerous encounters with the police. However, as Jason declares, “the story continues.” Therefore, Neil’s fans should stay tuned for more updates on this remarkable friendship!


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