Sea Lions, Seal Shot Dead Near Seattle
5 animals killed is unusually large number: officials
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2010 7:11 PM CST
Biologists perform a necropsy on an adult male California sea lion in West Seattle. Authorities say at least five sea lions, including one listed as endangered, have been shot to death recently.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – A harbor seal and at least four sea lions, including one listed as endangered, have been shot to death recently near Seattle, authorities said today. A National Marine Fisheries Service spokesman said an investigation was under way because it's illegal in most cases to shoot any kind of sea lion or seal. At least one sea lion is found dead near Seattle each year, but five was an unusually large number.

"It's impossible for us to say right now where these animals were shot," the spokesman added. "Or even if it was one shooter." Says a volunteer with a group called Seal Sitters: "It's really heartbreaking to think anybody would shoot a creature, because they're out there trying to survive. I hope to God it's not a trend."