6 sea lions die of gunshot wounds, SeaWorld official says

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SAN DIEGO – A recent spike in cases of marine animals getting severely injured by gunshot wounds caused a SeaWorld official to speak up, according to U-T San Diego.

SeaWorld spokesman Dave Koontz told the newspaper, six sea lions rescued in the past couple months suffered gunshot wounds and were euthanized due to the nature of their injuries.

In one case, a female sea lion had multiple gunshot wounds in her back when found at Children’s Pool in La Jolla in mid-October. She was unable to survive her wounds, according to Koontz.

SeaWorld took in another sea lion with a gunshot in the shoulder on October 23 and later it put down.

Gunshot wounds are not the only injuries SeaWorld officials are discovering. A sea lion found on October 26 had a 10-foot gaff pole in its back. It caused significant infection and necrosis, according to SeaWorld officials. The animal died a few days later.

Koontz told U-T San Diego, they report each incident to the National Marine Fisheries Service for further investigation. As of Friday, there was no determination on who was causing the injuries to the animals.

“It’s very, very difficult to determine who did that,” he told the newspaper. “But in all cases it’s a violation of the marine mammal act. These animals share the ocean ecosystem with animals and humans and they have a right to be there.”

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