A rare visitor to Northland’s west coast, a Leopard seal was shot in the face and killed sometime on Thursday afternoon, July 26.
Sea Shepherd is offering $5000 for information leading to the prosecution of the killer or killers.
“The killing has upset a lot of people. Our shores should be a place of refuge for such beautiful marine creatures and we are so lucky they visit us. We hope the reward will motivate someone to do the right thing and get this disturbed wildlife killer locked up,” says Sea Shepherd NZ Managing Director Michael Lawry.
The protected Leopard seal was killed as it lay on Ripiro Beach near Glinks Gully in Dargaville, Northland. The senseless slaying has outraged locals and conservationists throughout New Zealand.
The female juvenile Leopard seal found dead at Northland, NZ (Photo Supplied by DOC)
Leopard seals are protected under the Wildlife Act and the Marine Mammals Act. The killer or killers could face up to two years' imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000.
The juvenile female has been taken to Wildbase Hospital in Palmerston North for a necropsy. Initial scans show that the seal had been shot in the head at close range with a shot gun and also shot in the body with a rifle. It is likely we are looking for two killers.
Leopard seals live in Antarctica but often visit New Zealand shores, particularly the east coast.
Since the reward was offered on Sunday, several members of the public had provided information to Sea Shepherd which has been passed on to local Police.
Please contact Department of Conservation or the local Dargaville Police if you have any further information. Or contact Sea Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org.