A sea lion rescued in California last month has been euthanized due to injuries from pellet gun wounds. The animal, namedby her rescuers, was only one year old.
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) rescued the sea lion at Newport Beach after receiving a call from Newport Beach Animal Control. Rescuers found her in distress at a surfing spot called The Wedge.
During Mandalorian's check-in, rescuers found two wounds, one of which was causing her pain and limiting mobility. Further testing indicated the injuries most likely came from a pellet rifle, the center said in a statement Tuesday.
Despite treatment and careful monitoring, Mandalorian's health continued to decline. The center decided to humanely euthanize her on December 22.
"Unfortunately, what we saw is taking place up and down the Pacific Coast," said Peter Chang, CEO at PMMC. "These are disgusting and intentional acts, many of which are premeditated.
A necropsy revealed one of the pellets impacted between a rib and Mandalorian's vertebrae, which would likely have become infected. Both projectiles have been recovered and are being further investigated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement.
The office aims to enforce laws that conserve and protect marine animals and their natural habitats. Sea lions are protected under the Marine Mammal Protect Act.
"We know there are many out there that feel like they are competing with the sea lions for the same resources," Chang said. "However, there's a pathway for us to cohabitate with these precious marine mammals, and shooting them is not the way."
Mandalorian was named after the title character of a recent "Star Wars" spinoff series on Disney+. Several other sea lions at the PMMC are also named for "Star Wars" characters, including Yoda, Leia and Skywalker.