SEATTLE—National Marine Fisheries Service officials say five to six sea lions are dead after they were shot to death near Seattle.
So far, five dead sea lions were found this past week and have floated onto shore.
One of the sea lions is a Steller sea lion which is listed on the federal Endangered Species Act. This species is not common in the Puget Sound.
The other sea lions were common California sea lions.
Officials say there may be more dead sea lions. Investigators are not sure who shot the animals and why.
Brian Gorman at the National Marine Fisheries Service told the West Seattle Blog that five shooting deaths in one year is highly unusual.
An investigation has begun. Federal officials are unsure what kind of weapon was used to kill the animals, and whether the sea lions were killed by one or more rifle.