Cheyne Beach sea lion shot dead at sea in ‘cruel’ WA attack

Michael TraillThe West Australian
The dead seal at Cheyne Beach.
Camera IconThe dead seal at Cheyne Beach.

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.”

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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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