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California Briefing / SEAL BEACH

Deaths of two sea lions probed

June 12, 2008|Tony Barboza

Federal authorities are investigating the deaths of two sea lions found on the beach Wednesday with apparent shotgun wounds.

City lifeguards discovered the two wounded, adult sea lions north of the Seal Beach Pier on Wednesday morning, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service sent an agent to investigate, said agency spokesman Jim Milbury. They probably died about two weeks ago but just recently washed onto the beach, he said.

Their bodies were being taken to the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro for a necropsy, which will determine cause of death, he said.

Though it is not unusual for dead sea lions to wash ashore, if the deaths were caused by humans, attackers could face a penalty for killing the federally protected species: up to $200,000 per animal and one year in jail, Milbury said.

-- Tony Barboza

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