Seal pup saved, but dolphin decapitated
By PATRIZIA REIMER
IT'S been a sad week for our marine friends.
Someone has decapitated a dolphin carcass at Ballina.
And a distressed, though still living, fur seal pup has washed up near Byron Bay.
The carcass of the bottlenose dolphin washed up on Patchs Beach south of Ballina.
By the time Christine Fury, from Southern Cross University, arrived to collect it for research, its head had been removed.
"Although the dolphin was reported to have died before it washed up on the beach, experts and the National Parks and Wildlife Service thought it important a necropsy be performed to identify the animals cause of death," National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Liz Dargin said.
"Christine contacted the NPWS. She reported that when she arrived at Patches Beach to collect the dolphin for the necropsy she was alarmed to find somebody had dragged it up into the dunes and removed its head."
Ms Fury was still able to determine the female dolphin calf probably died from a respiratory infection, but the headless body was rendered useless as a teaching aid.
Meanwhile, a tired and distressed New Zealand fur seal pup was found on Belongil Beach on Tuesday morning.
"The Cape Byron Marine Park and National Parks and Wildlife Service have received a number of reports of seals on beaches between Byron and Woody Head over the past few weeks," Marine Park manager Andrew Page said.
"Experts from Sea World identified the seal as a juvenile New Zealand fur seal, which was probably orphaned and was swept north by currents."
Dr Evan Kosack, from the Lennox Head Vet Clinic, administered fluids and antibiotics to the animal on the beach before transporting the seal back to his surgery for further treatment and observation.
The seal, by then named 'Lennox', was then taken on Thursday to Sea World for rehabilitation.
The public can report seal sightings to the NPWS on 6627 0200 or Cape Byron Marine Park on 6639 6201.
The NPWS is also keen for public information which might lead to the person who cut off the dolphin's head.
Those who harm or interfere with protected fauna, dead or alive, face penalties of up to $11,000 or six months' jail