SYDNEY (AFP) — Rare and protected Australian fur seals have been killed in an apparent shooting spree in Australia’s island state of Tasmania, conservation officials said Wednesday.
At least nine seals had been found dead along the island’s east coast, conservation official Andrew Irvine told Australian Associated Press.
Three had been confirmed shot, he said.
“When we visited the sites we found nine dead seals and the body positions indicated an unnatural cause of death,” Irvine said.
“There was also a considerable amount of blood around each of the dead animals indicating their death was the result of a sudden major injury.”
He said the areas had been set aside for wildlife conservation, adding: “It appears that a person has gone to these islands specifically to shoot some of the wildlife there.”
The Australian fur seal is one of the world’s rarest and its numbers are recovering slowly after it was hunted to the brink of extinction.