Introduction

The Department of Conservation are reminding owners to keep dogs under control at all times after an incident with a seal pup on a Gisborne beach last month.

Date:  05 September 2012

The Department of Conservation (DOC) remind owners to keep dogs under control at all times after an incident with a seal pup on a Gisborne beach last month.

At this time of the year seals come ashore to rest and NZ dotterel are returning to nesting territories. We want them to be free from the disturbance of dogs says Gisborne Whakatane Area Ranger Biodiversity Assets, Jamie Quirk.

 “A dead fur seal pup was carried in the mouth of an uncontrolled dog at Waikanae Beach, Gisborne.  The seal pup carcass was sent to Massey University Vet School for necropsy and found to have an injury consistent with being bitten and shaken by an adult fur seal.”

“Nature is cruel, but dogs disturbing seals is unnecessary when life and death for juvenile seals is difficult enough.  Dogs are also known to kill NZ Dotterel chicks” says Mr Quirk.

An uncontrolled dog in a public place is taken seriously by the Gisborne District Council under the Dog Control Act 1996. Penalties for owners are severe if a dog is found annoying or disturbing wildlife.

“An owner must take all reasonable steps to ensure their dog is on a lead in a public place, such as a beach” says Gisborne District Council’s Team Leader Animal Control, Steve Greaves.

The public are reminded if you find a seal that is severely injured, entangled in marine debris or being harassed by people or dogs, call the DOC Hotline 0800 362 468. Any disturbance to NZ dotterel by people or dogs should also be reported to the DOC Hotline.

Background information

  • From mid-winter onwards, NZ Dotterel pairs move back to nesting territories, which they defend against other pairs.  Nesting begins in September.  Two or three well-camouflaged eggs are laid in a scrape in the sand among shells and driftwood just above the high tide mark.
  • Seal pups have been weaned and are learning to make their own way in the world. 

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Contact

John Lucas, Programme Manager (Biodiversity Assets)
Phone: +64 6 8690460 or Mobile: +64 27 295 7395

See also:

Seals

NZ Dotterel

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