Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


DOC is keeping an open mind about how more than 40 New Zealand fur seals/kekeno died, after their bodies were found on a remote bay in Banks Peninsula.

Date:  05 August 2018

Dead seals at Te Oka Bay
Image: DOC

Christchurch Operations Manager Andy Thompson says DOC was alerted to the seal deaths at Te Oka Bay late yesterday and staff have been out examining the area today.

“Our ranger counted 41 dead seals. One was an adult seal and the rest were pups at weaning age,” Andy Thompson says. 

“We think they had been dead for about two to three weeks by the state of the bodies. They were found high up on the beach, above the high tide mark, and we think they were probably swept there by high seas. 

“This is a remote area of the peninsula and locals have told us that there were stormy, heavy seas about the time we think the seals died. 

“We hope to send some of the dead seals to Massey University for necropsy to investigate the cause of death. We are keeping an open mind but at this stage, given the circumstances, we are leaning towards natural causes,” Andy Thompson says. 

DOC will keep a monitoring brief on the population. The results of the post mortem examinations won’t be known for at least several days. 

Around 12,000 kekeno live and breed around the Te Oka Bay area. Kekeno are the most common seals in New Zealand and their population of more than 200,000 is growing.


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