Reward for information leading to conviction of Kaikōura fur seal killers


A $5000 reward is being offered to help catch those responsible for killing at least eight fur seals on the Kaikōura coast late last year.

The Department of Conservation is trying to keep wildlife, like the fur seal, safe this summer.

File image. Photo: Department of Conservation

The eight legally protected fur sealswere shot dead with another 11 seal deaths being treated as suspicious.

They were believed to have died about late October or early November.

The Department of Conservation and Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura were appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

DOC said the reward was being offered for information or evidence leading to the conviction of whoever was responsible.

The reward was on offer up until 12 February, with more information available on [ its website].

DOC South Marlborough operations manager Phil Bradfield said the killings were being taken very seriously.

“We’re asking the public to help us find and convict those responsible for this heartless shooting of seals, he said.

“The evidence we have indicates at least two firearms of different calibres were used to shoot the seals and it’s possible more than one person may have shot them.”

The penalties for harassing, disturbing, injuring or killing a marine mammal include up to two years imprisonment or a fine of up to $250,000 under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 .

DOC was first alerted to the dead seals at Ōhau Point on Labour Day with six dead seals found there while the other 13 seals were found at two sites in the Half Moon Bay area.

While the cause of death wasn’t established for 11 of the seals, DOC was considering them suspicious as they died grouped closely together.

Six of the dead seals in the Ōhau Point Fur Seal Sanctuary weren’t closely examined to avoid disturbing pregnant females and young pups in the breeding colony.

Information can be provided by contacting the DOC 24-hour number 0800 DOCHOT/0800 36 24 68, Crimestoppers, or Kaikōura Police via 105 and quoting file number 211103/1981

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