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Don't kill sea snakes, DOC warns - NZ Press Item


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Inviato da Wes von Papinešu on Febbraio 02, 2000 at 20:37:56:

THE EVENING POST (Wellington, New Zealand) 27 January 00 Don't kill sea snakes, DOC warns
(NZPA): The Department of Conservation (DOC) is warning anyone finding potentially deadly sea snakes alive that killing the reptiles is illegal.
On Sunday, residents at Tokerau Beach in Northland killed a snake after finding it on the beach, and then put it in their fridge before handing it on to authorities to identify.
The Ministry of Fisheries has since identified the animal as a yellow-bellied sea snake, whose bite is capable of causing paralysis, severe pain, and, in the worst cases, cardiac arrest. While poisonous, it was not aggressive, the Ministry said.
The species was found throughout the Pacific and Indian oceans. It regularly visited northern New Zealand during January and May, but environmental conditions here preventedit reproducing and becoming established.
Despite the snakes' potentially lethal bite, killing them was a punishable offence, DOC Whangarei-based reptile specialist Richard Parrish said.
Any animal which made its way to this country under its own steam was protected bylaw. Sea snakes were able to be rehabilitated and returned to the wild, he said.
Two types of sea snake were sometimes found in this country, the second variety being the banded sea snake.
They were carried south from the subtropics on currents, with their systems becoming sluggish when they reached colder water, Mr Parrish said.
At that stage they could have difficulty digesting food, making them weak and causing them to be washed ashore.
Both Mr Parrish and the Ministry warned people to stay clear of any snakes that were found, and to advise either DOC, the Ministry, or the police.




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