A New Zealand sea lion and a leopard seal have been found dead on the same stretch of Southland coastline.
Both animals died as the result of being shot, leaving staff from the Department of Conservation shocked and saddened.
“It makes no sense why these animals were gunned down and left on the beach to rot,” said Department of Conservation Biodiversity Programme Manager Jessyca Bernard. “To find a sea lion at Waipapa Point and then a leopard seal at Waikawa Harbour only a few days later that had been killed in the same way defies explanation.”
The New Zealand sea lion is one of the world’s rarest sea lion species and fully protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act 1978. Offences under the Act carry penalties including fines up to $250,000 or a prison sentence of six months.
The Department of Conservation would like to hear from anyone who could help identify persons responsible for the shootings.