NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A sea lion had to be euthanized after being found shot in California.
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center says the animal, named Mandalorian by its rescuers, was found in distress in Newport Beach on Dec. 16.
While conducting radiographs on the sea lion, rescuers say they discovered she was suffering from two gunshot wounds, likely from a pellet rifle. The wounds were causing the animal pain and discomfort, limiting her ability to move normally.
The 1-and-a-half-year-old animal was monitored throughout the next week, but despite treatment, her health declined and the difficult decision was made to euthanize her on Dec. 22, according to the center.
Officials say a necropsy revealed that one of the bullets impacted between the rib and adjacent vertebrae.
“This entry wound most likely became infected, leading to severe muscle necrosis around the impact site and an accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity,” wrote the center.
The second gunshot was lodged between the ribs, according to the center.
The gunshot pellets were recovered and sent to law enforcement for further investigation.
"Unfortunately, what we saw is taking place up and down the Pacific Coast. These are disgusting and intentional acts, many of which are pre-meditated. We know there are many out there that feel like they are competing with the sea lions for the same resources. However, there's a pathway for us to cohabitate with these precious marine mammals and shooting them is not the way." said Peter Chang, CEO at PMMC.