Death of sea lions found to be caused by humans

Federal officials are saying several of the 15 Stellar sea lions found dead last week near Cordova had wounds indicating they had been “deliberately killed.”

The Alaska Dispatch News reports National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokesman Julie Speegle said Thursday that some of the deaths appeared to be caused by humans.

The agency received a report of the dead sea lions on June 1.

Biologist and enforcement agents visited the remote Alaska beach and found 15 of the endangered animals. The sea lions had been discovered in various stages of decomposition.

Speegle says samples from the animals have been taken and necropsies have been performed on some.

The sea lions were among the western stock of the population. The killing of sea lions in that population is illegal.