SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The head of Marine Mammal Rescue says many sea lions may have been shot off Southern California without detection.
At least two sea lions are known to have died, the Los Angeles Times reported. An adult female washed ashore mortally wounded Aug. 3 on Venice Beach while a pup was euthanized in 2009 after it was found on Dockweiler Beach with a bullet in its spine.
Marine Mammal Rescue has put up money for a $5,000 reward for information leading to the shooters. Peter Wallerstein, the organization's head, suspects fishermen are responsible.
"It is more common than not," he told KNBC-TV, Los Angeles. "Most of these actions take place miles off shore, so we're only seeing the ones that come to shore."
Bobby Shriver, a Santa Monica city councilman, said fishermen and the Fish and Game Department can use seal bombs and other legal means.
"If it was a fisherman and that person was trying to protect his or her livelihood, then there is a better way to do it," he said. "If it was just a mean person, than that person is going to get caught and go to jail. There is nothing to say about somebody who's just having sport on a defenseless creature by shooting them."