Sea Lions Found Shot on Puget Sound, US Officials Say by BBC News

AP- Fishermen regard sea lions as pests because they prey on salmonEight sea lions have been found shot dead in the US state of Washington in the past few weeks, wildlife officials have told a local TV station.

The bodies of seven sea lions with bullet wounds were recently found on the Nisqually River, KING-TV reports.

An eighth sea lion was found dead in West Seattle on 23 January, 2012. The Seal Sitters conservation group said it, too, had been shot.

Fishermen regard sea lions as pests because they prey on salmon.

The Seal Sitters say the eighth dead animal was a California sea lion, a mature male. The species is protected under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act .

“Evidence of a ‘penetrating’ wound, suspected to be that of a bullet, was found deep in the tissue and tracked back to the entrance wound,” the Seal Sitters said on their blog .

The sea lion’s remains were analysed by a biologist from the Washington Department of fish and wildlife.

The examination also revealed a wound from a shark bite and the sea lion’s intestines were twisted, the Seal Sitters said.

One of the animals found on the Nisqually River was a Steller sea lion, protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Both the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are investigating the deaths, KING-TV reports .

California Sea Lion- Photo: NMFS National Marine Mammal Laboratory“California sea lions are sometimes viewed as a nuisance by commercial fishermen and there are records of stranded sea lions with gunshot wounds and other human-caused injuries,” the NOAA says on its website .

To view the original article on BBC News, please click here.

For more information on Sea Lions, please click here to visit

To learn more about US National Marine Sanctuaries, please click here.

"California sea lions are social animals and form groups of several hundred individuals onshore. They are fast, agile swimmers and are often seen porpoising and wave riding. The deepest dive ever recorded for a California sea lion is 1,760 ft (535 m)...California sea lions feed mainly in upwelling areas on a variety of prey such as squid anchovies, mackerel, rockfish, and sardines. They also take fish from commercial fishing gear, sport-fishing lines, and at fish passage facilities at dams and rivers." NOAA