Department of Conservation officials are labelling the death of a sea lion pup on the Otago Peninsula as a tragedy.

Rua was 11 months old when her body was found with what appeared to be a gunshot wound near Portabello on Saturday.

DoC Coastal Otago operations manager Annie Wallace says Rua was a healthy pup who would've been part of the breeding population within the next four years.

She says that to have one of just 11 pups born on the peninsula shot is just tragic.

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Anyone with information about Rua's death is being urged to contact DoC.