No Seal of Approval from those of Dunedin
Image Evening Post 2 April 1936
The bane of a borough council, the centre of attention for an adoring public, and the one who was blamed for clearing out the salmons stocks so carefully tended by the local acclimatisation society. This is the story of Joey the Hooker's Sea Lion.
He first appeared in the papers in September of 1935. A Hooker's Sea Lion Phocarctos hookeri (Gray, 1844) galavanting up and down a Dunedin beach being fed by the adoring public - much to the horror of the Marine Department. Named Joey the Seal this amazing Seal Lion, soon had the public literally eating out his flippers so to speak.
"The indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand would live with civilisation if they could—consider, for instance, the spectacle of a sea lion on a Dunedin beach drinking cordial ont of a Bottle—but our methods make the co-operation of birds and beasts almost impossible."
- Evening Post
12 September 1935
ON TERMS WITH WILD
A desire to see wild animals is common to most people, and in the young is almost a passion. For average people, a collection of wild animals has more thrill than has a collection of plants, because the interest in wild life is wider than is horticultural and botanic interest; but to many Nature lovers it is a matter of regret that while the popular love of plants can be gratified without cruelty to the plants, the keeping of a zoo necessarily involves confinement, even though it be confinement with comfort. For this reason, Nature lovers seek some means of making contact with wild life in such conditions that the animals may be free without being dangerous; and the much discussed South African game reserve, where the lion gazes passively at the tourist car, is hailed as a tremendous advance.
Is it possible, in other directions, to introduce the public, and the wild animal, without confining bars?
One answer to this question is given in dumb language by
's sea lion, which wanders from the St. Clair beach up to the band pavilion, along, the esplanade, and up and down the steps. The trusting animal interests thousands of people and is making a fortune for the Dunedin tramways. Dunedin
Tame goldfish and tame eels are minor draws, but wild seal species, living in their own way and encouraged by kindness to frequent public places, could create anew bond between the human kind and the only remaining unexplored reservoir of wild life, the ocean.
incident is a reminder of what a Canadian Nature lover has done with beavers. Dunedin
- Evening Post
17 October 1935
By December of 1935 a letter appeared in the Evening Post (6 December) describing Joey's encounters with the human beings inhabiting his patch of the coast. It was all too clear he was starting to become a problem where the locals were concerned:
"Were you aware that a sea lion has made its home on the St. Clair beach? It is, and has all along been, quite tame. The children give it ice creams and lemonade, both of which it politely swallows. It sometimes goes flopping along the nearest street."
" Once it went into a shop, and had to be hunted out. Another time it appeared on a tramline, and the car had to be stopped while the sea lion was shifted."
" Another exploit was to push open the door of a telephone box and go inside, where it was a prisoner till someone came along and released it."
" It is not very big, perhaps five and a half feet from nose to tail. Those who know about sea lions say it will not stay with, us much longer, on account of the heat."
By March of 1936 Joey's antics had become the focus of a lot more than just the people of Dunedin. Now the Government began to look into the problem of what to do about the seal causing havoc and mayhem around the city. The mention of Joey being put into a zoo was also brought up, as well as the concerns that he had already bitten a number of people:-
'S DUNEDIN SEA LIONA PET ANDA NUISANCE
(By Telegraph.) (Special to the "Evening Post.")
, This Day, DUNEDIN
"Joey," the sea lion that has frequented the beach about
for the past six months, is the subject of much controversy. For some time past he has made himself unpopular in certain quarters, and over the weekend was in danger of his life. Dunedin
However, a telegram sent by the Mayor to the Minister of Marine this morning has resulted in action being delayed until representations on the subject have been made by local members of Parliament. There is a possibility that he may be offered to a zoo in the north.
Though many people regard the animal as a pet and an attraction to the seaside, there are many who regard him as a nuisance, arid in some cases as a source of danger he has bitten a number of people and badly frightened women and children.
When he first came ashore he was a very docile creature, but, possibly owing to his having been annoyed and in some instances ill-treated, he is not so friendly disposed now towards people.
What really led towards the proposal to shoot him was the depredation he has been causing among trout in the Tomahawk Lagoon.
- Evening Post
31 March 1936
Joey's visitations included entering private homes, visiting a hotel bar, hogging up seats made for the human beings and not for seals. He made his mark known on the people of Dunedin literally including leaning against cars when people wanted to get into them. He had also raided the salmon stocks kept by the local Acclimatisation Society which meant soon, the guns were out. A local hid the seal in his home so it wouldn't be shot. Joey was also decreed a public nuisance by the St. Kilda Borough Council.
An attempt was made to relocate the sea lion, but Joey keen to get home soon made his way back to St Kilda and his favourite haunts.
The Marine Department by now had also grown tired of Joey's antics and soon came to the decision said nuisance would be soon captured and placed in custody.
PET OR MENACE?
’S SEAL DUNEDIN
TALE OF ADVENTURES
The seal which came ashore to make its home at St. Kilda beach, Dunedin, aroused more than local interest, for its proceedings have had to come under the official notice of the Minister of Marine, the Marine Department, several State officials, and a small group of members of Parliament.
The Marine Department has had problems before relating to dead whales which.have drifted ashore and become a nuisance, but here was a live denizen of the sea over which there seemed to be a puzzling difference of opinion, with a busy Minister and officials called in as umpires.
The news of the seal's.escapades, at St. Kilda, as it appeared:in the newspapers, seemed quite remote from Parliamentary affairs, but as time wore on and the novelty became a nuisance, "something had to be done," to use a hard-worked political phrase.
The national administrative machine became involved in the subject last Friday, when the Superintendent of Marine,
, reported by telegram-to headquarters that there were complaints. about the seal's invasion of private premises, and that it had bitten people. He reported, that something would have to be done, and. recommended that it be offered to a zoo, or that he, be authorised to destroy it. Dunedin
VISIT TO HOTEL BAR.
As the Minister of Marine is occupied, with many, important national affairs ;after the commencement of an epoch making session, he does not appear to have immediately realised the importance of the seal. Meanwhile local opinion was aroused, and the seal made an indiscreet move when it sought metals of trout in the Tomahawk Lagoon, for this brought down on it -the wrath of. the Acclimatisation Society, and it was reported that someone went "gunning" for the novel visitors, but that the seal's life was saved by a friendly person who secreted it in his dwelling.
The seal had invaded homes without invitation, and had ev«n gone into a hotel bar, while photographic evidence was submitted to tthe authorities that it was monopolising an esplanade seat provided for humans, and that it made things awkward for a motorist by reclining against his car.
Official wheels move slowly,but the corapdy progressed fast. The "gunning" episode produced a protest from the Mayor of Dunedin, who described the seal as a pet. Unfortunately, this description arrived in
almost simultaneously with a formal resolution of the St. Kilda Borough Council condemning the seal as a public menace. Wellington
Puzzled officials, anxious to do "the right thing, suggested that these two authorities should consult. As the Mayor of Dunedin had protested that the destruction of the seal would be an outrage, it got an official reprieve and a weekend excursion to a beach twenty miles from
, where it was liberated on the beach from a lorry. Dunedin
But reports in
that the seal returned to St. Kilda almost as soon as the lorry, thus reviving the general dilemma. Dunedin's Mayor was officially asked if "he could provide sanctuary for the seal and there was an offer from an enterprising person :who wished to take it around the country on exhibit. Wellington
Out of consideration for the seal, this was officially negative , for the Marine Department, while realising its own responsibility, also recognised that a seal had rights, and possibly a sense of dignity. So the problem remained unsolved during the recent weekend.
Then the Marine Department had the happy inspiration to consult the Wellington Town Clerk and the Director of Reserves, with the result that an invitation was given to transfer the seal to Wellington Zoo, where it was assured of a welcome.
Dr. McMillan, member for Dunedin West, and Mr. Munro (Dunedin North) held a conference with the Minister of Marine about the embarrassing visitor, and it was decided to request the Mayor of Dunedin to co-operate with the Marine Department in arranging its transport to
, where an enclosed pool awaits it. Wellington
- Evening Post
2 April 1936
The Evening Post with all its Wellingtonian authority gave to voice to the fact that Joey the sea lion had made his own choice to seek out human company, and thus this was a good reason why the animal should be kept at Wellington Zoo.
A common objection to the confinement of animals in zoos is that it means the imprisonment of wild creatures that would be free. But this objection has less force in the case of Dunedin's St. Kilda seal, because the animal has of its own free will sought the company of man, or at any rate has gone where mankind congregates; indeed, when someone tried to make it lose itself in its native element by taking it in a lorry to the sea at a point many miles from St. Kilda, it returned to that place almost as soon as the lorry.
So the seal has sought the haunts of mankind at St. Kilda, and a separation can be effected only by people evacuating St. Kilda or by the seal being removed there from to a place from which it cannot return. There is, of course, a third alternative —to kill the seal. But when a wild animal throws itself on human trust, to kill it—except in the absence of any alternative—seems like murder.
It is said that the seal is a nuisance that it snaps and bites. Probably, as in the case of many a snapping dog, human tormentors are the primary cause of this. It often happens that an animal living instinctively is provoked by people who are supposed to live mentally; the blame is really theirs.
But if, through no fault of its own, the seal has become a nuisance and in danger of reprisals fatal to itself, then the best course seems to prevent it going back to St. Kilda, either by confining it in, say, the Wellington Zoo, or by taking it to the other side of the South Island and liberating it in some lonely South Westland bay where there are no human beings to corrupt its good manners.
- Evening Post
3 April 1936
On the afternoon of 8 April Joey was captured by the Marine Department and sent off to Wellington Zoo to begin his life of captivity.
SEA LIONFOR THE ZOO
(Special to the "Evening Post.")
, This Day. DUNEDIN
The sea lion which has frequented the beaches in the vicinity of
was captured this afternoon and placed in a crate prior to dispatch by the Waitaki tomorrow for Dunedin , where it will become an inmate at the Zoo. Wellington
- The Evening Post
8 April 1936
AT MINISTER'S REQUEST
MAYLIVE FOR MANY YEARS
"The Post" has received a number of letters from correspondents protesting against placing the
sea lion in the Wellington Zoo, and supporting the protest made by the president of the Humanitarian and Anti-Vivisection Society. The correspondents urge that it is cruel to confine the sea lion in the Zoo, and plead that it Should be liberated at sea. Dunedin
The Town Clerk of Wellington (Mr. E P. Norman) under whose charge the Zoo is, when asked today how the sea lion came into the possession of the Wellington City Council, said that it had been approached by the Marine Department to take it. The Minister of Marine, the Hon. P. Fraser, informed Mr. Norman that
children were thrusting at the sea lion with sticks, and had injured, its eye, and asked if it would be of any use to the Wellington Zoo. Dunedin
The Minister, said Mr. Norman, had been asked to destroy it, as it would not keep away from
. An attempt had been made to place the animal on another part of the coast, but it had come back as soon as it was released. The Minister was informed that Wellington Zoo would take it. It would arrive tomorrow, and would no doubt be inspected at the Zoo by many people during the Easter holidays. Dunedin
The pond, which was a large one, with more dry area surrounding it than many such ponds in other zoos, was ready for it. Water is changed in this pond whenever necessary. The number of sea lions accommodated in ponds in other zoos no bigger than that at the Wellington Zoo was much greater, said Mr. Norman.
There .was evidence that these animals thrive in captivity, because one had lived at the Newtown Zoo for seven years, and another for fifteen years, while.the last two sea lions at Newtown had inhabited the pond for nearly fourteen years. Healthy sea lions lived for many years in captivity. There were trained seals that went on tour with their proprietors and seemed to thrive on it.
It was true that two seals had died in the Zoo in a comparatively short time, but both were sick when.they were taken in. One of these was found in the Hutt Kiver estuary, and the other at
. In future no sick seals would be taken for the Zoo. Healthy seals which had lived so satisfactorily at the Zoo would not be likely to survive for the same period in the sea, Mr. Norman thought. Evans Bay
- Evening Post
9 April 1936
By April 10 Joey had arrived in Wellington and had been taken to his new home.
Sea Lion has a Home.
The sea lion which for some weeks made, rather a nuisance of itself at the St. Clair Beach,
, and because of loneliness or inane curiosity wandered into back yards and took possession, has become the big Easter attraction at the Newtown Zoo. Dunedin
Joey, for such is his name, was brought to Wellington by the steamer Waitaki yesterday morning and was hoisted, in a heavy crate, to a motor-lorry and taken to the' Zoo. On being liberated at the pond enclosure he made straight for the water and during the day was visited by some hundreds of people. At first he refused to eat, but by evening had settled down and had taken his first meal. The curator of the Zoo (Mr. J. Langridge) said today that the sea lion is apparently about half grown and is a really fine specimen which will add considerably to the Zoo's attractions.
- Evening Post
11 April 1936
(To tho Editor.) Sir, —I think all animal lovers could hardly bear to read the description of the sea lion's trip to
. This animal has tried to make friends with human beings in Wellington , and evidently has failed. Why not put it back to its natural conditions again? Surely there is someone in authority who loves animals and will do his best for this sad sea lion. I have nothing to do with the S.P.C.A., but I think it is horrifying all animal lovers to think that we who are supposed to be civilised can keep such an animal imprisoned for life. No it cries when it has only human beings to rely on.—l am, etc., F.O.A. Dunedin
- Letter to the Editor Evening Post 14 April 1936
One bright and hopeful person had also sent in a letter to the editor posing as Joey full and joy at being at his new zoo home. Most likely it was someone from the Wellington Zoo doing a bit of very clever promotion.
A home at last! I'm Joey the seal, I want to say how proud I feel, At having a home, and a fine one, too. I think I'll like the Newtown Zoo— A chap like me should make a hit although just now I'm not too fit. I made some fine friends at St Clai« Now I am here, and they are there. I think you know just how I feel, Because I'm not the one to squeal I'll say I didn't like the trip; It sort of makes me lose my grip! You realise when the journey ends— What ship-board travelling is, my friends — But now I've settled down a bit, A handsome chap with lots of IT. I thank you for the kindly deal You've given me—a lonely seal, And if you would complete the boon Well, come right up and see me soon.
JOEY THE SEAL.
- Evening Post
14 April 1936
- Evening Post
18 April 1936
The Evening Post was quick to report that Wellington Zoo was enjoying the benefits of having a New Zealand Sea Lion on display for their collection. The public it seemed, according to the report were enthusiastic about Joey becoming a Wellingtonian, and then there were those (also reported) who were not so enthusiastic about the seal lion being stuck in a small pond far from the sea.
The Botanical Gardens and the Newtown Zoo were very well patronised yesterday, particularly the zoo, which probably had a record Sunday attendance, for which Joey, the new sea lion, was largely responsible. Not all who made a special visit to the zoo, however, were enthusiastic over the new exhibit, or, rather, over the strictly non-sparkling waters (not even under yesterday's sun) provided for the sea lion. In fact, a good many visitors expressed the opposite of enthusiasm.
Salt water is not available at the zoo, nor is sea water essential for the comparative well-being of seals and sea lions in captivity, and after a week or so this pond has always lost its freshness. The sea lion, far "from home and hopelessly lost, had made a thorough nuisance of itself at the
beaches and for its own good it has been taken into "protective custody." Dunedin
Probably had it been taken to sea and liberated it would have died, so, all things considered, the best that could be done for it has been done. But the pond has no ocean freshness.
- Evening Post
13 April 1936
SEA LION'S POND - CONDITION OF THE WATER
In view of criticisms which have been made of the state of the water in the pond, at the Newtown Zoo, where the Dunedin sea lion has been accommodated samples of the water have been taken for analysis by the secretary of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Mr. R. A. Nicol, who has stated from daily visits to the zoo that he is satisfied that no pains are being spared by the curator (Mr. J. Langridge) and his staff to make the sea lion comfortable. The water is to be salted, and notices erected requesting the public not to throw food or other matter into the pond, Mr. Nicol has stated that the samples he took showed the water to be clean and fresh. Mr. Langridge said that the water is reasonably pure and clean. It is in constant circulation, flowing in and out all the time, its dark aspect being due to its depth and the colour of the concrete bottom. Mr. Langridge also stated that he had taken samples of water for analysis. Water from the bottom of the pond had been found clean enough.
- Evening Post
14 April 1936
SEA LION AGITATION DUNEDIN
SEVERAL PLANS MOOTED
(Special to the "Evening Post.")
SEA LIONIN A POND
WHO SAID SO?
The Dunedin sea lion may have been a first-class attraction at the Newtown Zoo during the Easter holidays, but it has also raised a fine hullaballoo, for it is quite evident that a great many people not only do not want to look at sea lions in ponds but say that sea lions should not be in fresh water ponds at all. Councillor W. Duncan has not written letters about it, but he proposes to ask at a very early meeting, as a member of the reserves committee of the City Council, by whose authority the sea lion was captured at Dunedin and. shipped to Wellington and placed in the. Zoo, for, he states, the matter was never referred to the reserves committee, which is supposed to control the Zoo, either in a general way or in. such details as the payment of freight, and crating and handling charges.
"I know what is going to happen," said Councillor Duncan. "We have had five sea lions at the Zoo and they have all died. This one will die, too, and then the council will get the blame. They did not want it at
, and, .through somebody's mistake we have been 'mugs' enough to accept it. We ought to get rid of it right away. How can anyone expect a sea lion to live in a small pool of lukewarm fresh-water, when it is used to the ocean? In such weather as this, the location is one of the warmest spots in Wellington, while the proper latitude for sea lions is that of the Auckland Islands, where there are thousands of them. A great mistake has been made, and I am going to find out all about it. Dunedin
"In my opinion the sea lion should never have been accepted without proper authority and without the full knowledge of ' every member of the council. The proper thing to be done was to drop it overboard in its natural element, and even now I think it should be taken to
and allowed to go to sea." Island Bay
- Evening Post
17 April 1936 SEA LIONSHOULD BE RELEASED
In the opinion of the
branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the sea lion should be removed from the Newtown Zoo and released. The question was discussed at a meeting of the branch yesterday, and while it was recognised that, it had been necessary to remove the sea lion from the Dunedin beaches and that full care and humane treatment had been given it in transport and at the Zoo, members were of the opinion that arrangements should be made at once for; its liberation. The president of the branch, Mr. G. Mitchell, said that the society disapproved in principle with animals being kept in conditions other than those natural to them, and members considered that the animal would die if kept in captivity at the Zoo. In their opinion it should be placed on board a vessel going down to Stewart Island and there released, to live the natural life of a sea lion. Representations are to be made to the Minister of Marine that the animal should be so liberated, said Mr. Mitchell. Wellington
- Evening Post
18 April 1936
SEA LION AGITATIONSEVERAL PLANS MOOTED(By Telegraph.) DUNEDIN
(Special to the "Evening Post.")
, This Day. DUNEDIN
Not yet has the sea lion Joey's departure for other climes silenced the controversy in
and its return is desired by a large section of the public. Several mooted plans to gain that end include the enlisting of the aid of the City Council at its next meeting and raising money by public subscription to defray the cost of transport of the sea lion back to its old haunts at St. Clair. Authoritative opinion is that the sea lion will not live long in its present quarters at the Wellington Zoo, as artificially-salted water quickly becomes stagnant and is absolutely devoid of all the minute marine life essential to Joey's diet. Dunedin
- Evening Post
22 April 1936
A letter to the editor over the debate concerning the issues over Joey the Sea Lion was sent to the Evening Post by Ellen Vickers Howell who provided a recollection from a St. Clair resident.
SEA LION(To the Editor.) Sir--As the fate of Joey is still debated possibly this extract from the letter of a St. Clair resident may be of interest.
"On April 1 Joey paid us a visit "We looked up and saw him inside the gate, leaning against :it surveying the garden. He then waddled .up the path and front steps and stood on the door-mat looking up with an inquiring expression as much as to say, 'Are they in?' After waiting a minute or two he waddled down, and went. straight to the back door, where he sat on the mat and waited. Disappointed, he went and lay on the front lawn and slept quietly for five hours—he had an admiring audience at the back gate.
About I heard a noise and came down to find the back gate was shut. Children were leaning over the fence and Joey was trying to get out. After some trouble, he got on the pavement, but the perverse creature immediately decided he would like to come back and made desperate efforts to squeeze under the gate and tried both corners. He now had an audience of about 30 people and as he wanted to go to sleep he lay on the pavement, but he got moved on. He tried both our neighbours' gates, then he actually went into the chemist's shop, but he was coaxed out of there, and he tried two doors (being persistent) and even lay on the tram, lines. But at last they coaxed him on to the children's playground, where he burrowed vigorously in and covered himself with sand. One man was playing with him in a friendly way and he seemed like a clumsy dog 'barking' at intervals."
A creature which behaves like this, when the open ocean is available, clearly seeks human care and intercourse. We may pronounce Joey a "queer cuss." But abnormal men, and women prefer solitude to society. Joey —also an abnormal —possibly has good reason for his desire,to be a landlubber rather than a sea-rover. Nature, unfortunately, is often "red-in tooth and claw" and natural surroundings have their own dangers. The London Zoo has happy sea lions and Wellington Zoo will do its best for its ward. One's chief fear is boredom for a sea lion of such infinite adventures. If all those who are opposed to zoo confinement would visit Joey and cheer him up he will soon forgive his
enemies and the limitation of our Dunedin
entertainment. —I am, etc., ELLEN VICKERS HOWELL.
Another letter from a reader calling themselves 'Old Hand' also appeared in the Evening Post in defence of the Zoo having Joey in their care:
(To the Editor.)
Having read all the recent letters to your paper about the sea lion which is now in the Zoo I cannot help asking myself if all these people who profess to be so concerned about "Poor Joey!" are genuine. The animals in the Zoo are a constant delight to thousands of children and adults also.
They are all well cared for and happy they have no worries everything is done for them and their lives are a thousand times happier than many human beings who are walking about
Now a point which seems to have been missed by all these people is this:
Should the authorities decide to take Joey out into the middle of the ocean and dump him, it's a thousand pounds to a gooseberry that: he would not last half a day.
Once a wild animal has lived in captivity, and is then placed amongst its own kind they set upon him and worry him to death.
How would the people who are now advocating Joey's release like that? Leave him where he is if you want to be kind.—l am, etc.
- Evening Post
23 April 1936 "He has not died in the ripeness of old age, nor yet from nostalgia or the melancholy of solitary confinement, as many inimical to the zoo foretold, but he has been cut off in his prime by what appears nothing more nor less than a crime." - Evening Post 7 May 1936
"JOEY" IS DEAD!DISCOVERY AT ZOOAPPARENTLY POISONEDMAYOR OFFERS REWARD
"Joey," the friendly seal with thousands of human friends all over the Dominion, won by the amazing- stories of his friendship for man, has ended a remarkable career in a sensational and tragic fashion. "Joey" is dead, and not only that, apparently there has been foul play.
"Joey," the lionised sea lion of the south, who sought the companionship of man on the St. Clair beach, entered homes, even mounted the running boards of motor-cars (and once essayed boarding a tram); cleaned out all the half-pounders in a small trout stream in an orgy of gourmandising; allowed some children to ride him, and bit at others; swam swiftly back to his beach and human friends when taken away in a lorry, and was brought to the Wellington Zoo because he was more problem than pet in Dunedin.
He has not died in the ripeness of old age, nor yet from nostalgia or the melancholy of solitary confinement, as many inimical to the zoo foretold, but he has been cut off in his prime by what appears nothing more nor less than a crime.
Why anyone should go out of his vay to get rid of such a confiding beast is unintelligible. There were many who protested against "Joey's" incarceration as they put it, complaining at the confinement of an animal with the range of all the seas in a freshwater pond, but surely their very concern for the seal, would preclude the idea of their being guilty, unless one or more of them became so obsessed with the imagined sufferings of "Joey" that they sought to end what they considered his misery.
It is suggested that the act might be one of callous vandalism to create a sensation. It is to be hoped that some explanation, will be forthcoming. The Mayor (Mr. T. C. A. Hislop) is sufficiently convinced of foul play, however, that a reward has been offered.
MORE HUMAN THAN ANIMAL.
"He was more human than he was animal," said. Mr. J. Langridge, the curator of the Zoo today, "and everyone in the zoo had become fond of him. I had become quite attached to him, and he had got to know, me very well, and would always come when I called. On Monday he was in the pink of condition, gambolling' about nearly the whole day. On Monday evening he had his food, eighteen pounds of it, and ate it heartily.. He was in a playful humour almost until he went to bed. On Tuesday morning he swam about in the pool, but about 4.40 I received a message that he had eaten hardly anything, and seemed a little sleepy. I went up to look at him, and I was not greatly alarmed, as frequently he would not eat heartily, though he always made up for that afterwards, and his being drowsy at times was not uncommon either."
" Late on Tuesday evening he was sleeping. When I went to look at him on Wednesday morning he was missing, did not come when I called, and was finally found in the pond dead at about
"I sent for our 'vet.', Colonel Young, and there came with him one of the Government veterinary surgeons. The three of us held a post mortem, and Colonel Young expressed the opinion that the seal had been poisoned. I do not think there is any doubt about that. Access to the pool was open to anybody, but ; we-had. warned people against throwing in a lot of food. The opinion was formed that the poison was eaten by-him, perhaps very early on Monday morning."
"From the accounts I have received, and from the; examination made of the body," said the Mayor (Mr. T. C. A. Hislop); "the seal seemed to be in firstclass condition, and his disposition seemed to be happy right up till the night .before he died. We had a veterinary examination made of the remains by Colonel Young, M.R.C.V.S., and we have been informed that we shall receive a certificate that in the opinion of the veterinary officer "Joey" died' of poisoning. How the poison was administered I am not in a position to. say, but exhaustive inquiries are being made, and further steps are now in course of being taken. A reward, will be given for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons guilty of what appears to be a dastardly act."
Besides the steps already: taken to ascertain the cause of death, portion of the contents of ,the stomach are being sent to the Government Analyst, but up to the time of going to press the certificates which would fix the poison used have not come to hand.
- Evening Post 7 May 1936
On 9 May the Evening Post reported that the post-mortem certificate had been issued for the unfortunate Joey. The initial post mortem showed signs of poisoning. Further testing was mentioned in the article below - as to what the true cause of death really was we truly do not know. Today Hooker's Sea Lions are well and truly protected by law. The public are forbidden from interacting with these animals due to the fact that they can inflict serious wounds, and they are a protected endemic species to New Zealand. Possibly Joey had not taken at all kindly to his enforced incarceration and may have died of another undetermined cause.
DEATH AT THE ZOO
THE POST-MORTEM ON "JOEY"
The Town Clerk has received the certificate of Colonel Young, M.R.C.V.S., that in his opinion "Joey," the sea lion which died at the Zoo, was poisoned.
A preliminary test made by the analysts of the Agriculture Department showed no indications of poison, but further specimens of the stomach of the unfortunate beast were taken yesterday, and it is possible that the more extensive tests being made, which will occupy some time, may throw further light on the exact cause of the animal's death.
No clue has been obtained so far as to the persons responsible for the poisoning. It is pointed out by an analysts that there is no short cut in determining what poison may be present. Where there are indications of what poison to look for, the analysis takes less time, but if it is necessary to go through processes to exhaust the possible, or even probable, list of all poisons that might be concerned, it is a very lengthy job. In the case of a human examination it may take a fortnight or three weeks. Results cannot be expected in a day or two, unless the analyst is fortunate.
- Evening Post
9 May 1936