LOS ANGELES (AP) - Four sea lions have been shot, three of them
fatally, at Los Angeles County beaches since the beginning of the
year, a marine animal rescue group said Tuesday.
Marine Animal Rescue said it is seeking more evidence to help
state investigators find those responsible for shooting the
California sea lions, which are protected under the Marine Mammal
Fishermen sometimes injure or kill sea lions to keep them away
from fish, but so many shootings within two months is unusual, said
Peter Wallerstein, founding director of Marine Animal Rescue, a
volunteer group that works in the Los Angeles area.
The most recent sea lion shooting was reported Feb. 3 by a
beachgoer in Santa Monica, Wallerstein said.
"When we arrived on scene we saw this little 30-pound,
9-month-old sea lion pup lying on the beach," Wallerstein said.
The animal appeared healthy, but "then he started dragging his
back end like he couldn't move it."
It had to be euthanized because a bullet severed its spine, he
Wallerstein said his group is trying to collect more evidence to
assist the National Marine Fisheries Service. The state agency is
responsible for protecting marine mammals and endangered marine
life but lacks the resources to investigate the shootings without
more evidence, Wallerstein said.
He said he hoped a $5,000 reward offered by his organization
will inspire witnesses to come forward.
A message left with the National Marine Fisheries Service was
not immediately returned Tuesday night.
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