Sea-lion shootings: 10 confirmed, after latest necropsy in West Seattle

(Photo by Robin Lindsey: SR3’s Casey McLean; SSMMSN First Responders David, Dave, Lynn, and Suzanne and Seattle Parks’ staff Lee and Donald in hi-viz jackets)

SUNDAY, 3:49 PM: An update today from Robin Lindsey of Seal Sitters Marine Stranding Network:

We are now up to 10 confirmed shot dead California sea lions in King and Kitsap counties for the period from September to end of November.

On Friday the 30th, Seal Sitters MMSN responded to a report by Seattle Parks employee Marco of a very decomposed California sea lion carcass washed up at Don Armeni boat launch. This was the same animal that was wedged under the Water Taxi dock the day before, which we marked with bio paint for identification and pushed out into the current. Through photo comparison, we were able to verify that this was the same animal reported along the downtown Seattle waterfront some time ago which has been inaccessible. Thanks to Parks and Seal Sitters’ first responders, the carcass was secured until necropsy options could be weighed.

Because of delays getting EPA permits required for towing/sinking, the Marine Mammal Stranding Network is unable to do necropsies until a permit is secured because of disposal issues. That is, unless we have options for burial/disposal on land. Read more about those challenges on my blubberblog post here.

Thanks to the efforts of Carol Baker and her many Seattle Parks/SW employees who lent a hand and provided removal services, we were able to do a limited necropsy onsite of this estimated 600 lb animal. X-rays of the head, done by a local veterinary lab, confirmed that the sea lion had indeed been shot.

There are 6 other reported dead sea lions in King/Kitsap who have not been necropsied, bringing the total of dead sea lions to 16. Additionally, there are several other dead animals in neighboring counties. provides the absolute latest updates regarding numbers and any new information.

MONDAY UPDATE: SS also wants you to know that “The Marine Mammal Stranding Network is gathering data from those counties and that information will be shared when possible.”

8 Replies to "Sea-lion shootings: 10 confirmed, after latest necropsy in West Seattle"

  • Lisa December 2, 2018 (7:43 pm)

    Are they able to tell by the currents where the seals are being shot? We live in such an aware neighborhood that it seems like someone would report gunshots being heard.

    • Robin December 3, 2018 (10:06 am)

      Right. See something say something. West Seattle residents need to band together and turn in these illegal tree cutters and wildlife killers. 

  • 935 December 3, 2018 (1:27 pm)

    13:21 – 12/03Can someone explain the need to get a “permit” from the EPA to tow/sink a dead marine animal? If one were to die of natural causes and float ashore is the same permit necessary?Seems a bit of a ridiculous process. And a “delay” in getting said permit? It seems all the more government bureaucracy stupidity.

    • Katie December 3, 2018 (6:28 pm)

      Probably because they don’t want people dumping rotting corpses at random. Seems kind of obvious. 

      • 935 December 3, 2018 (8:32 pm)

        20:30 12/03And yet your “obvious” statement does nothing to move the conversation forward.Please note I asked someone to inform me. Not offer their speculation.For example, I could speculate that a naturally occurring death doesn’t need to file for a permit. Did that mother orca get a permit for her lost calf? or how about the untold numbers of marine animals that pass off this mortal coil naturally, without the proper paperwork?  It is just as easy to perforate the abdomen and sink the carcass-Mid channel, in the middle of the bay,  heck – over by where king county flooded the sound with raw sewage….I’m certain it would cost less and benefit many marine organisms.The Puget sound is awfully deep in places, and awfully large. To sink a carcass as you say “at random”, seems exactly what they’re going to do. Just doing so with the blessing of some bureaucratic gobbledygook.

  • Howard December 3, 2018 (1:31 pm)

    Who should I call to report a dead seal in the water? In September I called Seal Sitters to report a dead seal floating in the water off the north end Vashon ferry dock but SS told me they don’t respond to dead marine life in the water. 

    • Seal Sitters December 3, 2018 (2:45 pm)

      Vashon Island is not Seal Sitters’ response territory.  For reports on Vashon, please call Vashon Hydrophone Project @ 206-463-9041. I am sorry if the hotline failed to give you this contact information.Seal Sitters, like most of the volunteer stranding networks, does not have a boat to retrieve dead animals in the water.  Typically, we have to wait until the animal washes ashore for a response and examination.For a map showing the various stranding networks and contact info in Puget Sound, please visit  this link:

      Thanks to everyone for being vigilant. Photos are extremely helpful in identifying species and condition of dead animals.

  • Seal Sitters December 3, 2018 (2:33 pm)

    FYI that the comment regarding “tree cutters and wildlife killers” was not from Robin of Seal Sitters….just to avoid confusion.

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