Fur seal dies in dog attack

A New Zealand fur seal.
A New Zealand fur seal.

A protected New Zealand fur seal has been mauled to death by a dog on a Dunedin beach, with the Department of Conservation (DOC) appealing for public help to track the killer canine.

The seal (kekeno) was found dead on Brighton beach more than two weeks ago, by a resident out for a walk.

An autopsy and pathology report from Massey University on the juvenile female had now confirmed a dog caused its death, DOC Coastal Otago services manager David Agnew said.

Severe trauma to the head and neck was consistent with a dog attack, Agnew said.

"Injuries included severe depressed fractures to the skull with many other bite wounds present."

Dogs should be kept under control at all times on beaches as marine wildlife could appear at any time and roaming dogs should be reported, he said.

It is the responsibility of owners to have their dog under control at all times. Under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, penalties range from up to six months' jail or fines of up to $250,000 for killing and harming fur seals or other marine mammals.