Dogs maul seal pups to death on Hawke's Bay beaches

  • 17/10/2017
Fur seals are fully protected in New Zealand.
Fur seals are fully protected in New Zealand. Photo credit: File

Hawke's Bay dog owners are being urged to keep their animals under control at the beach after two fur seals, or kekeno, pups were mauled to death over the past month.

The Department of Conservation's (DoC's) acting operations manager for Hawke's Bay, Kelly Conway, says New Zealand kekeno are fully protected.

She says the department recommends keeping dogs on a leash where seals are present, and staying at least 20 metres away.

"If members of the public do come across a kekeno, please leave them be," she said.

"While they may look cute and cuddly, seals are wild animals and more often than not they're in need of rest, not rescue."

The first attack happened on September 17 at Tangoio, where a member of the public witnessed a dog hunting and mauling a fur seal pup to death.

The dog's owner faces fines of up to $3000 under the Dog Control Act, and Hastings District Council has impounded the animal.

The second incident was at Te Awanga on October 10, when DoC rangers arrived at the scene to find a seal pup dead, and the dog and its owner gone.