Shot sea lion suffers 'slow and painful death' on Catlins beach
A shot male sea lion came ashore and later died a "slow and painful death".
The death has prompted the Department of Conservation to issue an appeal for information.
The sea lion came ashore at Jacks Bay over the Easter holiday period and made his way to the dunes.
"We are fortunate that members of the Jacks Bay community reported the animal to DOC and, while we were not able to save it, a vet was available and supervised a necropsy, which showed that the sea lion had been shot causing a haemorrhage in its lungs," DOC Murihiku acting operations manager Chris Bowen said.
READ MORE: Sea Lion shot dead
"This sea lion appeared to be in in a good condition. He died from serious blood loss and it would have been a slow, painful death."
"The shooting of an endangered animal is hard to comprehend. There are only about 10,000 New Zealand sea lions left so losing one in this way is particularly tragic," Chris Bowen said.
DOC was leading the investigation. It had alerted police.
The incident comes months after a sea lion died in Otago Harbour.
Rua, an 11-month-old female, was found dead at Portobello, Dunedin on November 5 last year.
A man was charged with allegedly stabbing the protected animal.
It is illegal to injure or kill sea lions and anyone caught faces serious penalties, including up to two years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978; and five years' prison and a fine of up to $100,000 under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
Anyone who may have information about the latest incident should contact the Invercargill DOC office on 03 211-2400,or the DOC hotline on 0800 362 468.