LAGUNA BEACH — A young California sea lion likely attacked by a shark after becoming entangled in fishing line was euthanized by a veterinarian at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center on Wednesday.
The sea lion, which had been spotted around the Dana Point Harbor suffering from a severe injury to its hindquarters, had the public and several animal and safety agencies looking for him over the past few days.
On Wednesday, a trained team from PMMC successfully rescued the 3-year-old, 100-pound sea lion that was resting on the sand at Baby Beach. He was taken to the Laguna center to be examined.
“It is with great sadness and sorrow that due to the severity of his injuries, the sea lion had to be humanely euthanized,” said Keith Matassa, executive director of PMMC.
The initial cause of the injury is still unclear, but several reports from the public and rescue teams as well as photos show that a monofilament fishing line may have been the cause, said Krysta Higuchi with PMMC.
“It is likely that the entanglement inhibited his mobility such that he could not evade predators,” she said. “There are indications that the sea lion was attacked by a shark, which contributed to the grave injuries.”
In the last few months, PMMC rescuers have responded to multiple reports of sea lions entangled in fish hooks and fishing line.
In April, a rescue team from the center cut fishing line from another sea lion in Dana Point Harbor that was seen caught up in lines on the jetty.
Before that, another sea lion, rescued by PMMC and named Whiskers, was cut free from fishing lines and hooks after being found outside Newport Beach Harbor.
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