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Kids take action after seal deaths

JO BELWORTHY
Last updated 05:00 08/08/2012
Tangiteroria Primary
Jo Bellworthy
HUNG UP: Finn Burgess, left, Arapeta Kingi, Keila Arnott and the kids from Tangiteroria Primary School wrote letters to express their views on the seal killings.

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Children at Tangiteroria Primary School were so affected by a story in the Dargaville and Districts News about two seal pups shot and run over on Ripiro Beach they got together and wrote letters to the editor.

The seals were found by people enjoying a day at the beach.

Kauri Coast area manager Meirine Hardy-Birch says the seals leave home in the south using our beaches as rest stops.

"There is no reason for somebody to shoot or run over a seal," she says.

The students visited the Auckland Zoo and Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World on a whole school two-night visit to Auckland last term and cannot understand why anyone would want to harm a seal.

Teacher Beverley Davie says the children were disgusted by what happened.

"They also had strong opinions about the cowardly behaviour shown by the unnamed culprits and their lack of responsibility," she says. "They believed those responsible should own up to their actions and they also suggested a few interesting ways of preventing such cruelty."

Some of their ideas including putting a camera under the sand to catch them in action, jailing them for life, building a fake water mammal with an electric body so people get an electric shock, and breeding a mutant seal, crossed between a highly aggressive leopard seal and a New Zealand fur seal.

Under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 there are penalties of up to six months imprisonment or a fine of up to $250,000 for killing or harming fur seals or other marine mammals plus a further fine of up to $10,000 for every marine mammal the offence was done against.

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