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Six baby seals found decapitated in New Zealand

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WELLINGTON: Six baby seals have been found decapitated in New Zealand in what wildlife rangers yesterday branded a "cruel and senseless" act against a protected species.

The dead New Zealand fur seal pups were found by a tourism operator on Monday at Scenery Nook near the South Island city of Christchurch, the Department of Conservation said.

The department's local operations manager Andy Thompson said the animals, protected under New Zealand law, were estimated to be 11 months old.

"Due to the disturbing, brutal and violent nature of this crime... it has been reported to the police," he said.

Mr Thompson said the seal heads could not be found, and it appeared they had been killed elsewhere then dumped in the beauty spot from a boat.

"We believe it is incredibly unlikely sharks would have bitten the heads off six seals but left the bodies untouched," he said.

Mr Thompson added that the killers may have mistakenly believed the seals were competing with local anglers for fish. - AFP

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