23 Jul 2013

Seal killing shocks tourist operators

7:08 am on 23 July 2013

Kaikoura tourism operators are shocked by the killing of a two protected seals, including a pup, at a seal colony north of the town.

The female fur seal and pup were shot in the head at close range at Ohau Point last week, less than two years after 23 seals and pups were clubbed to death at the same spot.

The colony is a popular attraction, with about 12,000 visitors a month between May and September hoping to see the seal pups gather at the Ohau Stream waterfall.

Matt Chambers of Seal Swim Kaikoura says the seals at Ohau Point are part of an important breeding colony and are a major attraction.

Mr Chambers says he would have expected the eight-month prison term given to one of the men involved in the 2011 attack would have deterred anybody else from doing the same thing.

Dennis Buurman, co-owner of Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura, says the seals are a major drawcard for his business as well and he is shocked at what has happened.

The Department of Conservation is appealing for anybody who saw anything unusual late last week to get in touch.