SEATTLE (AP) - Federal officials are attempting to find the people who are killing sea lions near Seattle, offering a $20,000 reward for information to find the perpetrators.
The Seattle Times reports 12 of the animals have been shot to death since September in Puget Sound waters around King and Kitsap counties which is about double the number of incidents from recent years, according to Michael Milstein, a spokesman for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.
The increased attacks have raised NOAA's concerns because they're concentrated near populated areas and violate the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, which have protected so-called California sea lions against unauthorized killing since 1972.
Dozens of sea lions have been killed by Washington and Oregon below the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, after the states obtained federal permission, to protect threatened and endangered salmon.
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