4 Sep 2008

Dogs kill seal pups in Far North

4:36 pm on 4 September 2008

Department of Conservation rangers are on the trail of two dogs which have killed up to 30 seal pups on Ninety Mile Beach in the past fortnight.

Seals have returned to Tauroa Point in big numbers this winter, and leave their pups on the rocks or the beach to rest while they feed.

DoC says pups been savaged and eaten alive by uncontrolled dogs in three separate incidents.

Far North conservation officer Patrick Whaley says on Wednesday night a DoC hunter shot one of three dogs seen running loose.

Mr Whaley says seal pups are slow moving on land, making them easy prey for dogs.

A Far North iwi says new protocols are needed to protect baby seals, now that the animals are returning to beaches.

Rongo Benson, the conservation spokesperson for Te Rarawa, says the seals arrive with their young about this time every year, but their numbers are growing.

Mr Benson says the iwi is willing to take on the role of guardian, as it has for whale strandings in the area, and talking to DoC about setting up a protection network for the seal pups in time for next spring.