NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KTLA) -- A sea lion rescued in December from the Wedge surfing beach in Newport Beach had to be euthanized after experts at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center discovered she had two gunshot wounds on her chest, officials announced Jan. 7.
Newport Beach Animal Control first noticed the sea lion yearling, named "Mandalorian" by her rescuers, in distress at the Wedge on Dec. 16. The PMMC rescued the sea lion and found two distinct gunshot wounds on her, most likely from a pellet gun.
One of the wounds was a draining abscess on her dorsal back, which was causing the sea lion pain and discomfort, and limiting her ability to move around normally, the organization said in a news release.
The sea lion was euthanized at PMCC's Laguna Beach facility on Dec. 22.
After experts conducted a necropsy on the sea lion, they discovered one of the bullets impacted between the rib and adjacent vertebrae, and most likely became infected. The second gunshot was lodged in the musculature between the ribs, officials said.
The gunshot pellets recovered from the sea lion's body will be sent to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement for further investigation.