Saturday, April 20, 2024

DOC appalled by crossbow attack on gull

The Department of Conservation says its appalled by the shooting of a protected red-billed gull in Ōamaru.

DOC says the tarāpunga/red-billed gull was shot with what appeared to be a crossbow bolt. The injured bird was found by staff from the Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony near Sumpter Wharf on Friday morning.

DOC Technical Advisor ecology, Bruce McKinlay described the shooting attack as “appalling”.

“If you have any information about this incident, we are asking you to come forward and share what you know with us,” he said.

“Though red-billed gulls may seem common, they have a threat classification of Nationally Vulnerable and their numbers are decreasing.

“We want to remind people that our protected and threatened species should not be used for target practice.”

He said the bolt was removed and the bird was transported to the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital on Friday afternoon for specialist assessment and rehabilitation.

The bird appears to be recovering well, Mr McKinlay said.

Red-billed gulls are a protected species under the Wildlife Act, and the maximum penalty for the disturbance of protected species is a fine of $100,000 and/or imprisonment for two years.

It’s the second incident of red-billed gulls being shot in recent week after two gulls were found shot with blowdarts in Waikanae in the last fortnight.

Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony science and environmental manager, Philippa Agnew described the shooting as “incredibly cruel”.

If you see anyone harming or interfering with wildlife, or who has information on this incident, please contact 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) or

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