A seal has died after it was involved in a fight with a dog
at Castlecliff Beach on Sunday.
Department of Conservation staff are urging beach visitors to
be cautious around the coastal area and keep dogs on a leash.
Conservation partnerships manager Jasmine Hessell says the
dog owner reported the incident to DOC after she had tried to
separate the fighting animals and was bitten by the seal
during the incident.
"The woman was in an area where she was permitted to exercise
her dog, but it is timely to remind the public that we are
sharing the coastline with a variety of wildlife, including
protected species "
Seal pups often come ashore between July and October to rest
after storms, and when they have been weaned they are
learning to make their own way in the world.
"While they might look cute and harmless, appearances can be
deceiving. Seals are wild animals and will defend their
"They carry infectious diseases and their teeth can inflict
"You should keep at least 20 metres away and not get between
the seal and its escape route to the sea," Ms Hessell warns.
DOC staff have also been investigating the death of a little
blue penguin found at Castlecliff on Sunday and have found no
remarkable injuries and no obvious cause of death.
The body has been sent to Massey University for an autopsy.
Penguins are a protected species and are known to come ashore
DOC wish to remind the public that there are serious
consequences for anyone caught harming protected species.
Under the Wildlife and Marine Protection Acts, those who
deliberately injure or kill protected or partially protected
species can face up to two years imprisonment or a fine of up
Senior DOC ranger Jim Campbell says motorbikes and dogs are
the biggest threat to wildlife on our local beaches.
"We are fortunate in Wanganui that we have easy access to
expansive beach areas -- we need to make sure our recreation
activities do not harm any of our protected species."
- By Liz Wylie of the Wanganui Chronicle