Diver fights endangered sea lion with a spear to protect his swimming partner off of New Zealand, saying: ‘It needed a stab’
- Matt Kraemer said he stabbed sea lion to protect his wife while diving in the sea
- He said two sea lions were ‘harassing’ them in the water in Dunedin, New Zealand
- One of the eight-foot long animals was biting their flippers, Mr Kraemer claimed
- He used the speargun after it climbed out of the sea and ‘threatened to attack’
Matt Kraemer said he stabbed a sea lion off the coast of Dunedin as it was ‘particularly aggressive’
A New Zealand diver who stabbed an endangered sea lion said he was protecting his wife when he speared the animal that had been ‘harassing’ them.
Matt Kraemer was diving with his partner Jo, when he claims the ‘particularly aggressive’ sea lion with ‘lion-sized jaws’ began following them in the water near a beach in Dunedin.
He said they were in ‘great danger’ after two sea lions ‘harassed’ them through the sea for half an hour last Friday afternoon and would not go away even after repeated pokes.
One of the animals, which he said were more than eight feet long, was biting at the flippers they were wearing on their feet.
Mr Kraemer claims he had to stab the animal with a speargun to get it to leave them alone after it climbed out of the water and ‘threatened to attack’ them on the beach.
He wrote on Facebook that he needed to stab the sea lion to ‘defend my terrified dive buddy’ and that the animal was not seriously injured after the incident.
Mr Kraemer, who stood as a regional council candidate earlier this year, had been looking for sea snails in the sea at the time, and posted pictures of the paua, as they are known in Maori, alongside his description the stabbing.
He wrote: ‘A beautiful day for some monster Paua. Today I learned why sea lions are called ”lion’s”. A particularly aggressive one harrassed [sic] me with lion-sized jaws for the entire 30 minute swim back to the beach.
‘It actually climbed out of the water and threatened to attack on the beach. I had to stab it with a spear to defend my terrified dive buddy!’
Matt Kraemer said he was protecting his wife Jo (pictured above is the couple on their wedding day) from a sea lion that had been harassing them in the sea and ‘threatened to attack’
When questioned about why he stabbed the sea lion by commenters, Mr Kraemer, who lives in the South Island city of Dunedin, added: ‘It was attacking on the land, only half a meter away from Jo and we were already exhausted after half an hour defending ourselves from it.
‘This was no ordinary playful sea lion. I poked it lots of times with no effect, it needed a stab. It will live.’
Mr Kraemer added in his Facebook post that the stab wound, which was made in ‘self defence’, was around 8mm (a third of an inch) wide and 30mm (1.2 inches) deep.
He told the Otago Daily Times: ‘One of them was at least 2.5m long, it was much bigger than me.
‘My partner had a dive knife which she was keeping between her and the animal.
‘It was biting at the long diving fins we have on our feet and the entire time it was making passes at us.’
In a Facebook comment on her husband’s post, Mrs Kraemer said she was ‘a bit scared to go back in [the water] now to be honest’ after the incident.
She said: ‘It was scary. Matt was just defending me. He had been very tolerant up to that point.’
Mr Kraemer said the sea was more than eight feet long (pictured is an Australian sea lion in a file image) and it followed him through the water, biting their flippers
But the New Zealand Sea Lion Trust said in a Facebook post that it was ‘never OK to harm a sea lion because you’re scared’.
Chairwoman Jordana Whyte wrote on social media: ‘Many of you will have heard about the incident in Dunedin where a man stabbed a sea lion because he felt threatened by it.
‘While we can appreciate that this individual was scared and felt he was acting defensively, none of the behaviours demonstrated by the sea lion suggest aggression to us.
‘We do not condone this man’s response to typical curious sea lion engagement, though we do have empathy for how frightened he was.’
New Zealand sea lions are among the rarest of the species in the world, with fewer than 10,000 thought to be left in the country’s waters.
In 2015 the New Zealand sea lion was moved from ‘vulnerable’ to the more serious ‘endangered’ category on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List.
Anyone who kills a sea lion in New Zealand can face up to two years in prison or a fine of up to 250,000 New Zealand dollars (£127,975).
However, New Zealand Police said that last Friday’s incident was not under investigation.