Cheyne Beach sea lion shot dead at sea in ‘cruel’ WA attack
A necropsy conducted by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has found a shotgun was used to kill a protected Australian sea lion at Cheyne Beach.
Wildlife officer Jon Pridham said evidence suggested the threatened animal was shot at sea, near a breeding colony close to Cheyne Beach on Sunday.
“There are a number of pellets removed from the body — one of them had damaged the aorta; that would have meant it died within virtually minutes,” he said.
“There’s a colony relatively close to Cheyne Beach at haul-off rock, so we’re assuming it was shot at sea in that vicinity.”
Mr Pridham described the attack as “cruel” and questioned why anyone would want to shoot the “unique” animal.
“It’s unnecessary and callous, cruel, shooting any animal in the body like that — there’s no guarantee that it is going to be a killing shot,” he said.
“They’re endemic to Australia; they’re quite unique, and unique in their reproductive biology.
“They’re under threat, they’re a vulnerable species in WA.”
An investigation is under way with DBCA staff trying to track down those responsible.
A number of leads are being followed up with authorities.
Mr Pridham said police would be brought into help when necessary.
Under the Biodiversity Conservation Act, a maximum fine of $300,000 can be issued for injuring or killing an Australian sea lion.
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the DBCA on 9842 4500.
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