Baby Seal
© Auckland Zoo
The baby seal being tube-fed liquids at Auckland Zoo after it was brutally beaten and found by a DOC ranger in a west Auckland stream.

The Department of Conservation will lay charges against two men who admitted beating a seal pup with a boat oar and left the bloodied mammal to float down a West Auckland creek.

Two men, a 39-year-old from Massey and a 22-year-old from Henderson, were seen bashing the 1m fur seal at Henderson Creek at around 8pm on Monday night. Witnesses reported the attack to police who yesterday questioned the pair.

The 1-year-old seal's head was swollen on one side and its nose and muzzle bleeding after the attack.

"We're hoping the injuries are fairly superficial. One of our rangers picked it up from police [on Monday night] after they were looking after it at the water's edge," DoC biodiversity programme manager Phil Brown said.

The seal is now being treated at the New Zealand Centre for Conservation Medicine at Auckland Zoo.

"It did pretty well there overnight and it's doing okay today. They're still pretty worried about the head injury it received because it was hit with the oar a number of times.

"We're hoping to be able to release it later this week," Mr Brown said.

DoC is planning to lay charges against the two men under the Marine Mammals Protection Act.

In November last year, Harley McKenzie was jailed for four months for his role in an attack on a leopard seal in 2008 in which fist-sized stones were thrown at the seal and it was dragged around a beach by its tail. Two other men were fined $5000 and $7000 for their part in the attack.

This pair could receive up to six months in jail or fines of up to $250,000.

"We take attacks on animals very seriously and will definitely press charges," Mr Brown said.

He was grateful the two witnesses had gone to the police as DoC relies on the public to report incidents.

"Thanks to their actions, the police apprehended the two suspects and our DoC ranger was able to find the seal and take it to Auckland Zoo for medical treatment."

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