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Sea lion shootings remain a mystery; $5,000 reward offered

Sealion A marine animal rescue group is asking for help in finding who is responsible for a spate of sea lion shootings along the Los Angeles County coastline. At least four sea lions have been found with bullet wounds at area beaches since the beginning of the year, and at least one of them survived, said Peter Wallerstein, the founding director of Marine Animal Rescue.

The latest victim was a 9-month-old pup found Feb. 3 at Dockweiler Beach in Santa Monica Bay. Wallerstein said his group received a call about the animal from a concerned beachgoer.

“When we arrived on scene we saw this little 30-pound, 9-month-old sea lion pup lying on the beach,” Wallerstein said. At first glance, the animal appeared healthy. “Then he started dragging his back end like he couldn’t move it,” he said. “I was hoping it wasn’t what I thought it was.”

A radiograph confirmed that a bullet had severed the pup’s spine and he had to be euthanized, Wallerstein said.

Marine Animal Rescue is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible. Wallerstein said fishermen will sometimes injure or kill sea lions to keep them away from the fish, but that it was unusual to have so many shootings in such a short period of time.

Without more evidence, he said authorities with the National Marine Fisheries Service do not have the resources to hunt down those responsible, but he hoped that the reward would be an incentive for witnesses to come forward.

“We don’t believe this is something that we should tolerate as human beings,” he said. “If we don’t catch them, we hope that at least the shootings will stop.”

-- Alexandra Zavis

Photo: At first glance, this 9-month-old sea lion pup appeared healthy when it was found Feb. 3 at Dockweiler Beach in Santa Monica Bay. But marine animal rescuers say a radiograph confirmed that a bullet had severed the animal's spine and he had to be euthanized. Credit: Peter Wallerstein / Marine Animal Rescue.

Comments () | Archives (13)

This is tragic, I hope they catch whover this was and they go to jail for a long, long time.

The people responsible for these shootings, must be heartless people. How would they like it if they were shot too, unable to defend themselves. Animals are dying out and these shootings aren't helping at all, we are supposed to do everything possible to help animals survive, not shorten their life. Thankfully, Marine Animal Rescue have taken matters into their own hands. These criminals should be captured and punished for their animal cruelty. Like the saying says, don't do to others, what you wouldn't like done to you.

Whether it was a fisherman or not, the person doing this is disgusting and should be removed from society, or perhaps fed to some lions, tigers, or bears while the sea lions are allowed to watch.

Great idea, El2doD. Let's take it a step further and rig a gun to fire at whomever is shooting these adorable creatures when they are caught. The trigger can be activated by placing a piece of fish on a pulley. When the sea lion eats it, it fires the gun at the perpetrator. Other sea lions should be in attendance to watch.

These sick losers need to be apprehended and thrown in kept in with their own kind. Anyone who would do something like this is a pathathic coward. Whoever did this needs to crawl back under the rock they came from. LOSERS!!!

Our state is broke!...we cant send these sickos in our prison to waste our $$$. I agree with mike about leaving these sickos with lions and of sorts...

Maybe they should put a hidden camera in the area where it happens most of the time.

People who do things like this make me ashamed to be human.

would love to see a bullet between the eyes of the perpetrator who hurt them seals and that lil baby, i would like it to be a long, arduous, dragged out, painful death to the coward harming god creatures in that way, stupid idiot bastard, amazes me how we live in such a sick and warped society, hope they catch the fool and make him pay!

how truly despicable this is ... there are no other words. i just hope that the people involved are caught. soon. and brought up on charges for murder. because really, that is what it is.

That's what the seal lions get for stealing from the fishermen. They should have gone for the head shot.

Whoever is responsible should call Nuch Trutanuch, candidate for city attorney, who's proud of representing another notorious sailor who shot at sea lions for fun and yet calls himself "an environmental attorney" on his slate.

He says about his client, "what can I tell you, people do dumb things." The guy got a suspended sentence, fine and community service caring for wounded sea lions, and he claims the client became "a born-again animal activist." That means you and your client will get to the bottom of this and nurse the wounded animals back to health pro bono, right? (Sounds like Redrum will be voting for Nuch, his kind of guy.)

This is very sad wow and i love animals.:( i hope u guys found the people who did the shooting to these harmless sealions.....wow:)


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