Sea lion found shot to death on California beach

A 7-year-old sea lion was recently found dead with multiple gun shots wounds on a Point Reyes beach.

The SFGate reported Friday that the sea lion was spotted by visitors near the surf. A necropsy performed by researchers at the California Academy of Sciences reportedly found that the animal had multiple holes on its body consistent with gunshot wounds. 

Scientists reportedly said that the male sea lion was born on San Miguel Island and had been seen routinely around the island since its birth.

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According to the local publication, the Marine Mammal Protection Act strictly prohibits the harassment, hunting, capturing and killing of all marine mammals in the country. Those who violate the policy can face a year of imprisonment in addition to a fine of up to $28,520.

The Point Reyes National Seashore has asked park visitors to take photos if they notice dead or injured animals and to notify staff.

"You are our eyes and ears out in the park and you can make a difference by reporting these sightings to us," the park officials stated in a post on Facebook on Wednesday.

The report comes weeks after more than a dozen California sea lions were found dead in Washington state from human-inflicted trauma, including six that have been killed by gunshot wounds.