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Mystery solved: Wildlife officials say sea lions are putting gaping wounds in Calif. pelicans
MORRO BAY, Calif. (AP) ' Game wardens say they have discovered that sea lions are responsible for the unsettling number of brown pelicans showing up along California's Central Coast with huge puncture wounds in their chests.
State Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan (HYOO'-ehn) said Wednesday that sea lions and pelicans have been competing for baitfish that are unusually close to shore this year.
As many as 15 birds have died recently from wounds that a veterinarian said appeared to have been caused by a knife or other sharp object.
A kayaker apparently witnessed a sea lion attacking and dragging a pelican underwater. Hughan said such attacks are not unprecedented.
Officials are relieved the culprit is nature and not a malicious person.
The discovery was first reported by the San Luis Obispo Tribune.