[Warning: Graphic Content]

OXNARD (CBSLA.com) — A large sea lion that was impaled by a gaff and left to die was rescued Tuesday night in Oxnard.

Wildlife rescue volunteers spent days searching for the sea lion believed to be a 500 to 600 pound male adult first seen Saturday with a metal pole sticking out of it.

At the end of the pole appears to be a knife or a hook.

Injured Sea Lion, Oxnard

(credit: Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute)

“I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years. I haven’t seen an injury on an animal quite this bad,” one rescuer said.

Experts believe the injury was intentional.

“This is what we call a human interaction. This is in violation of federal law. There’s a $10,000 fine and up to a year in jail,” said Sam Dover of the Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute.

The Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute, a nonprofit rescue organization, called in a team from SeaWorld San Diego to help them catch and treat the injured animal.

Keith Yip, a SeaWorld mammal curator, believes the sea lion has an infection based on the appearance of his wound.

Yip thinks a fisherman may be to blame.

“These sea lions are attracted to the fishing boats because of the fish, and sometimes there’s negative interaction between people on the boat,” he said.

Footage Tuesday night showed crews pulling the sea lion to safety after catching him in a net. He’s expected to be transported to San Diego for treatment.

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