DOC is urging boaties to give animals plenty of space and always ‘watch where you are going’. The call comes after a dead black sea turtle (a subspecies of green turtle) was found washed ashore on Whangaparaoa beach north of Auckland with four deep cuts from a propeller in its shell. A necropsy was completed by the Auckland Zoo.
DOC Biodiversity Supervisor, Molly Hicks says, “The results of the necropsy indicate the turtle was likely to have been alive when struck by the boat, and the boat strike caused bleeding in its lungs.
“The Hauraki Gulf is extremely busy this Summer season, especially with increased visitor numbers and the America’s Cup. We want to remind people we share this beautiful ocean space with other living species that need to be considered at all times.”
A week after this incident Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari reported observing a seriously injured common dolphin.
Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari skipper, Gary Williams says “We were disappointed, but sadly not surprised, to come across a common dolphin showing serious ‘prop strike’ wounds on a recent safari.
“When we’re out on the water it’s so important to remember we are guests in these animals’ natural environment. All of us are responsible for looking out for marine mammals and helping protect them.”
All reptiles, including sea turtles are protected under the Wildlife Act 1953 and all seals, sea lions, dolphins and whales are protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978. It’s an offence to harass, disturb, injure or kill marine mammals and sea turtles.
Molly says “We encourage those who are interested in viewing marine mammals and reptiles to consider seeking out a licensed tour operator who are trained to interact safely with marine mammals.
If you come across injured or stranded marine mammals and reptiles call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).”