The Southland Times
Last updated 14:51 16/11/2010
Tourists spotted the harpooned sea lion and reported it to the department at the weekend.
However, when DOC ranger's went looking for it the sealon had disappeared.
Owaka ranger Cheryl Pullar said: "From pictures sent by the tourists who found the sea lion, it appears the spear was not deeply embedded and we hope it will dislodge by itself.
"If the animal is found, we will try to extract the spear and, if necessary, the animal will be netted and sedated,'' Ms Pullar said.
DOC Coastal Otago area manager Robin Thomas condemned the acts of cruelty by the people and dogs who have killed, injured and harassed protected and endangered wildlife.
"These actions are not only totally illegal and serious impact the species but, in respect of the sea lion incidents, are also potentially very dangerous.''
This month an Western Southland man was jailed for his part in attacking a sea lion.