A 7-year-old sea lion was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds on a Northern California beach, officials said.
The male sea lion, which was often seen around the Point Reyes National Seashore area, was found by park visitors.
“Markings on the sea lion allowed our marine mammal stranding network partner, the California Academy of Sciences, to identify the male sea lion,” the park said in a Facebook post.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service researchers “reported that he had been consistently seen around the island since he was born. Injuries to the sea lion were consistent with gunshot wounds.”
Under federal law, it is illegal to kill or harm sea lions and those found guilty of doing so face up to a year’s imprisonment and/or a $25,000 fine.
Yet despite this, some fishermen are increasingly using lethal force on the mammals to eliminate their competition to fish.
Late last month, NOAA announced an investigation into the shooting deaths of six sea lions along the Washington state coast.