What a privilege to witness firsthand one of Nature's amazing provisions for protection. This was in New Zealand in March this year, on South Island near Kaikoura. For quite some time this hidden sheltered spot was not generally known, but now there is a board up with a helpful explanation of what happens.
Soon after they are born, baby fur seals find their own way to safety from ocean predators. Without their mothers they follow a stream uphill until they reach a large pool at the bottom of a waterfall. Every few days they make their way back down to the rocky shore to feed on that vital rich mother's milk. After a few months they instinctively know the time is right for them to rejoin their mothers full-time, now less likely to fall prey to predators.
I walked that steep path alongside the stream through the forest, and had the pleasure of watching baby seals playing in the pool beneath the falls. The scene was idyllic, surrounded as it was by verdant green forest, with crystal clear water gurgling in rock pools and a waterfall completing the picture. They cavorted, swam, dived, indulged in mock fights, almost as if they knew we were enjoying their antics.
It was a delightful experience, enhanced by the awe I felt at seeing this example of how perfectly Nature works. It really doesn't need man to mess with it.