Sea Lions Under Fire

In 1992, increased ocean temperatures brought more than the usualy number of hungry sea lions close to human fishing activity along California’s coast. As a result, California’s Marine Mammal Center, which rehabilitates sick and injured marine mammals, admitted a record-breaking 793 animals last year: 80 were maimed, blinded or permanently paralyzed from fishermen’s gunshot; most died or had to be euthanized. The sea lions rescued were mostly yearlings having trouble finding food. The Center’s Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen, who examined the animals, wonders “how anyone could perceive these animals—no bigger than the family dog—as a threat.”