Marama the sea lion cub and her mother, Gem, are removed
from Tomahawk Beach last January. Photo by Stephen
A sea lion pup born at Tomahawk Beach last year has been
found dead at Allans Beach, at the end of Otago Peninsula.
The year-old female was named Marama after being born last
January to 6-year-old Gem.
The pair attracted such attention at the popular dog-walking
beach that Department of Conservation staff placed protective
fencing around them to ward off the possibility of dog
Doc and Sea Lion Trust staff later moved the pair to the end
of the peninsula, after deciding the risk of injury or
harassment was too great, especially as Gem was preparing to
leave the 5-day-old pup to feed at sea. Marama was found dead
at Allans Beach on Saturday afternoon, Doc coastal ranger Jim
Fyfe said yesterday.
''Marama had a good year.
''She was one of the largest and heaviest pups I've ever
''We sent the body to Massey University for autopsy and
should have the results back in the next few weeks.''
New Zealand sea lions are listed as a critically endangered
species and only returned to the Otago coast 19 years ago,
after an absence of more than 200 years.
An average of four or five pups were born every year around
Dunedin, Mr Fyfe said.
''Pups are usually born in late December and early January
and we're expecting between six and 10 pups around the Otago
coastline this year.
''People should expect to see wildlife in remote places this
time of year.
''They can pop up in the weirdest of places and we want to
know if people see any sea lions anywhere.''
A peninsula tour operator contacted the Otago Daily
Times this week expressing concern at the number of dead
red-billed gulls around the royal albatross colony at Taiaroa
The ODT found 10 dead adults and three dead chicks in
various stages of decomposition on Monday, but that was a
natural attrition range in a colony of 4000 to 5000 birds, Mr
''They're nationally classified as in decline, although
that's not the situation in Otago.''
Anyone who locates a sea lion in residence is asked to
contact Doc on 0800 DOCHOT