Sea lions at Allans Beach. Photo from DOC.
The owner of a dog which chased a sea lion from the sand
dunes on an Otago Peninsula beach to the sea has been granted
Following a Department of Conservation prosecution, the owner
was also required to make a donation to the New Zealand Sea
Lion Trust and apologise to the English tourists who saw the
incident and reported it to police.
Doc conservation services manager (Coastal Otago) Dave Agnew
said Doc investigated the August incident and found the dog
was not under sufficient control as it was witnessed chasing
the sea lion from the sand dunes into the ocean where it
escaped, apparently unharmed, as far as Doc could determine.
Dogs were allowed on Allans Beach, where the incident
happened, but were required to be under the control of the
owner at all time.
It was the only publicly accessed beach on the peninsula
where dogs were allowed. New Zealand sea lions were a
''critically endangered'' species which were making a slow
recovery on Otago Peninsula.
Mr Agnew said uncontrolled dogs posed a significant threat to
vulnerable wildlife such as penguins, seals and sea lions, so
Doc took incidents such as this one very seriously.
''It is very important for dog owners to act responsibly when
exercising their pets in areas where these species occur.''
In Dunedin, the self-proclaimed wildlife capital of New
Zealand, vulnerable wildlife could be present anywhere along
the coast, so dog owners needed to be vigilant, he said.
Doc had investigated two or three incidents involving dogs
and wildlife in the past 12 months. Diversion was offered
only case by case.