On Sunday the 17th September the Department of Conservation found a dead endangered male New Zealand Sea Lion (Rāpoka/ Whakahao). It had been shot on Tautuku Beach in the Catlins (Otago/ Southland) and was otherwise in healthy condition.
In April of this year another male was found dead at Jacks Bay.
“This is the second Sea Lion to be shot this year in the Catlins. It appears we could have a serial wildlife killer in the region” says Grant Meikle, Sea Shepherd NZ Director and Campaign Leader for Operation Pahu (www.operationpahu.nz).
Sea Shepherd is offering $5000 for information leading to the prosecution of the killer or killers.
“Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get this disturbed killer caught and stopped for good” continues Meikle.
“We have been patrolling the area several times this year in the Loki looking out for Hector’s dolphins as part of Operation Pahu but we are also keeping an eye out for illegal activities that put any of our precious marine wildlife at risk” Meikle says.
Whakahao or New Zealand Sea Lions are one of the world's rarest sea lions with a population of only 10,000. Whakahao are classified as critically threatened, the same as Kakapo and Kiwi.
Late last year, a young female Sea Lion, Rua, was stabbed to death by a deranged Otago man at Portobello.
Operation Pahu is Sea Shepherd’s first campaign in New Zealand and makes a stand for NZ’s endemic dolphin in the South Island. For more campaign information visit: www.operationpahu.nz