LAGUNA BEACH (CBSLA) — A sea lion rescued from the Wedge in Newport Beach last month was found to have been shot at least twice with a pellet rifle and had to be euthanized, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center said Tuesday.
The one-and-a-half-year-old female sea lion named Mandalorian by her rescuers was found in distress on Dec. 16 with two distinct wounds – a draining abscess on her dorsal back, and two shots to her chest likely made by a pellet rifle.
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center says it monitored the yearling over the next week, but her health continued to decline. Mandalorian was euthanized on Dec. 22.
A necropsy determined one of the pellet shots’ entry wounds likely became infected, leading to severe muscle necrosis and an accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity. One of the pellets was found to have impacted between the rib and adjacent vertebrae, while the other was lodged in the muscles between the sea lion’s ribs.
The pellets have been recovered and will be sent to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement for further investigation.