Garda investigation after seal cub heads bolted to sanctuary signs


Gardaí and the wildlife service are investigating an incident at a wildlife and seal sanctuary on the Dingle peninsula in which the heads of two baby seals were erected on to entrance signs and daubed in red paint overnight.

Volunteers made the discovery when they arrived at the wildlife sanctuary in Emlagh, near Lispole, on the main road to Dingle, early yesterday.

As well as drills, ladders were probably also needed to bolt the heads to the signs.

Speculation locally as to a motive was focused on anger in the wider fishing community at the damage seals were doing to fish stocks.

However, gardaí stressed they were keeping an open mind as to who was responsible.

The incident has brought to minds locally the slaughter of up to 60 young seals on the Blaskets in 2004 in a deliberate cull. An investigation involving wildlife services and gardaí took place but nobody was charged.

The Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary takes in orphaned seals, rearing them to a stage where they can be released.

The mammals in question, a grey and a harbour seal, were not from the sanctuary but brought in from outside.

Fishermen have been calling for a cull for the past two years amid complaints over attacks by seals, which are protected species.