The Department of Conservation is appealing for information after a critically endangered sea lion was shot dead on a Catlins beach in Southland.
Biodiversity ranger Ros Cole says the male sea lion was found dead on Tautuku Beach on Sunday.
It was the second time a sea lion had been shot on the Catlins coast this year, after another male was found dead at Jack's Bay in April.
Ms Cole said it was extremely disappointing someone had shown such reckless disregard for a protected species.
"It's really disheartening someone would do this, sea lions are not only critically endangered but also a taonga species special to Ngāi Tahu."
It is illegal to injure or kill sea lions, and anybody caught doing so could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.