Was sea lion shot? Photos sent to federal agency
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
A dead sea lion lies at the high tide line on the strait side of Ediz Hook in Port Angeles on Friday.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The director of the Feiro Marine Life Center is awaiting analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries to find out what killed a sea lion found last week on Ediz Hook.

Deborah Moriarty said Friday she had collected data and photos of the dead sea lion found on the Strait of Juan de Fuca side of Ediz Hook near the public restrooms and was set to send the information to the fisheries office in Seattle.

Sea lions are federally protected.

The dead animal had three circular holes in it, Moriarty said.

She declined to speculate on what might have caused them until she learns more from the NOAA analysis.

Kristin Wilkinson, marine mammal stranding coordinator for NOAA Fisheries in Seattle, said her office relies on volunteers from the marine life center in Port Angeles to respond to reports of dead marine mammals in the area.

Found last week

A local resident had sent an email to the Peninsula Daily News on Wednesday evening saying he and his daughter had come across the sea lion and that it appeared to have three bullet holes in it.

Wilkinson had not heard about the dead sea lion as of Thursday and could not be reached for comment Friday.

But speaking in general, she said holes resembling bullet wounds can form through natural processes.

Natural processes?

“Almost perfect circular holes can form during the decomposition or during the scavenger process, and people [can] jump to conclusions or assume there's been some sort of foul play,” Wilkinson said.

If, after initial analysis, bullet wounds are suspected in a marine mammal found dead, she said, the body likely would be X-rayed or a necropsy performed.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsula
dailynews.com.

Last modified: March 08. 2014 5:20PM
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