$5k reward offered as DOC hunts Kaikōura seal killer

Source: 1News

The Department of Conservation is offering a $5000 reward for information into the deaths of at least eight fur seals on the Kaikōura coast last year.

A fur seal resting on a rock at Ōhau Point, Kaikōura.

Eight fur seals were shot dead, while the deaths of a further 11 seals are being treated as suspicious, DOC said in a media release.

The seals are believed to have died around late October or early November last year.

DOC said it was first alerted to six dead seals at Ōhau Point on October 25, Labour Day. Thirteen others were found at two sites in Half Moon Bay.

“We’re asking the public to help us find and convict those responsible for this heartless shooting of seals," DOC South Marlborough operations manager Phil Bradfield 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 reward, which will be on offer until February 12, is for information or evidence leading to the conviction of those responsible for the seal deaths.

More information about the reward can be found on the DOC website.

DOC, alongside police and Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura, are calling on anyone with information to come forward.

Anyone with information has been urged to contact the DOC 24-hour number 0800 DOCHOT/0800 36 24 68 or Kaikōura Police via 105, quoting file number 211103/1981. Information can also be provided anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

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