28 November 2000
Branded Sealion A Legacy Of Previous Government's Animal Experimentation Decision—Lee
Conservation Minister Sandra Lee says a sea lion branded "169", which has been sighted at Kaka Point on the Catlins
coast south of Dunedin, is "a cruel legacy" of the previous Government's decision to approve a hot-iron branding trial
involving sea lion pups and adult females.
"I was horrified to learn in April about the the trial which had been approved by former Conservation Minister Nick
Smith last year," Ms Lee said.
"I immediately requested that the Department of Conservation end this unfortunate experiment."
"This was a technique that was used by the Australians for about six years up till last year on juvenile Macquarie
Island elephant seals, until a survey by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Division found 31% of brands had caused
infections, and 35% were illegible."
"DOC in January this year had hot-iron branded some 300 sea lion pups aged between five and 10 weeks old, and 134 adult
females, at the Auckland Islands."
"I would have opposed the New Zealand trial if I had been given prior knowledge that it was going to happen," she said.
"These are some of the world's most threatened sea lions."