A group of baby seals were found decapitated at a busy bay in New Zealand, in what has been described as a ‘cruel and senseless’ attack.
The bodies of the six baby fur seals were found by a tourism operator in Scenery Nook, Christchurch, on the country’s South Island.
The heads of the 11-month-old pups could not be found, leading the Department of Conservation (DOC) to conclude that the animals were killed elsewhere and dumped from a boat.
DOC Mahaanui Operations Manager Andy Thompson said in a statement: ‘Due to the disturbing, brutal and violent nature of this crime against defenceless seal pups, it has been reported to the police.’
The group has ruled out the pups being killed by a shark as it was ‘incredibly unlikely sharks would have bitten the heads off seals but left the bodies untouched’.
Three of the bodies have been taken to Massey University for examination, while the remaining three have been buried.
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New Zealand’s Marine Mammals Protection Act has made it illegal to harass, disturb or harm fur seals.
However, Mr Thompson said there have been case of people injuring or killing the animals after becoming frustrated over low fish numbers.
The DOC has appealed for any witnesses to come forward.