LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A California sea lion suffering from two pellet gun wounds had to be euthanized, a rescue group said Tuesday.
The female yearling was found in distress at the Wedge in Newport Beach on Dec. 16 and taken to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, where it was given the name Mandalorian.
“While conducting radiographs to obtain further information on the extent of the animal's injury, her chest indicated two gunshots most likely from a pellet rifle,” the center said in a press release.
The sea lion’s health continued to deteriorate and it was euthanized on Dec. 22.
The pellets were recovered during a necropsy and will be sent to the National Marine Fisheries Service’s law enforcement office for further investigation.
"Unfortunately, what we saw is taking place up and down the Pacific Coast,” center CEO Peter Chang said in a statement. “These are disgusting and intentional acts, many of which are pre-meditated.”
Chang said some people feel they are competing with sea lions for resources.
“However, there's a pathway for us to cohabitate with these precious marine mammals, and shooting them is not the way," he said.