A Taieri Gorge Railway employee is fed up after the second
''bizarre'' incident in which a live eel has been dangled
from a rail bridge and hit by a train.
Co-driver Paul Jeffery said a live eel was first strung up
from an Abbotsford bridge using fishing line three weeks ago
and then again on Monday.
On both occasions, the wriggling eels were killed upon impact
with the locomotive and two yougsters, aged between about 11
and 14, were seen running off as the train approached, Mr
''The locomotive smacks into it and you can see it's still
moving and it cuts the fishing line as we hit it and it
fortunately kills the eel,'' he said.
Mr Jeffery labelled the youngsters' actions as cruel and
feared they could be a ''precursor for doing something
Police were contacted after both instances.
In the most recent case, the train operators buried the eel
at sea after dropping passengers, who were from the Celebrity
Solstice cruise ship and unaware of the incident, at the
Dunedin Railway Station.
In the second instance, the eel was much larger and believed
to be a longfin eel, which could live more than 60 years.
''I was just reading about [longfin] eels and they are
actually quite intelligent creatures.''
Taieri Gorge Railway operations manager Grant Craig said this
was the first he had heard of eels being dangled in the path
of oncoming trains.
''It's usually stones and rocks, but eels are something
new,'' he said.
Dunedin freshwater fish specialist Dr Terry Broad, who did
his PhD on the habitat of longfin eels, confirmed after
looking at a photograph of the dangling eel that it was a
longfin - a species that was struggling to survive - and by
its size was probably a female and possibly up to 30 years
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's Dr Jan
Wright recently released a report showing the native longfin
eel is on a ''slow path to extinction''.