Mystery remains as to who killed 'tame' eels in Whangamatā

Kendall Hutt
Source: 1News

Warning: Some people may find the image in this story upsetting.

It remains a mystery as to who cruelly speared and left for dead "tame" eels in Whangamatā.

Longfin eels (file image).

Residents were left devastated last month after three longfin eels were found speared in part of the Wentworth River which runs through the Whangamatā Golf Club.

More than 100 eels had taken up residence in this part of the river, but experts say they were likely scared away by the killings.

Club member James Corlett, who made the grisly discovery, said at the time the "wanton cruelty" had sent a lot of sadness through the club and community.

One of the eels at the Whangamatā Golf Club killed by a spear gun.

READ MORE: Whangamatā community devastated after 'tame' eels killed

The Department of Conservation said the killings showed "a lack of respect and appreciation for the species".

Police, who were investigating the killings, told 1News on Wednesday the case has been closed – for now – as they hadn't been able to identify any offenders.

Although items left at the scene - a spear gun and two other homemade tools were found nearby - were forensically examined, the police said unfortunately there was insufficient evidence to identify anyone.

"In the absence of any other lines of inquiry, the file is closed."

Corlett told 1News the majority of the eels scared away last month had made their way back, but said they were a lot more timid.

"We are all obviously delighted they are back but we still have trepidation about their future."

Corlett said he was a "little bit disappointed" the police had been unable to identify the culprits, who he thinks might have been teenagers.

"If people want to catch eels, they can do it in a humane way."

Club members are now keeping a good eye out for poachers, he said.

Anyone with information about the killings should contact the police.