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LIMA – (AFP) – Dead sea lions have been discovered on beaches in northern Peru amid suspicions they were poisoned by fishermen, activists and authorities said.
The remains, together with those of dolphins and sea turtles, turned up over the past two weeks near the port of Eten some 750 kilometers north of the capital Lima, Carlos Yaipen of the non-government organization ORCA told AFP.
“Initial reports indicate that between 30 and 50 sea lions were found, with signs they were killed with rat poison,” Yaipen said.
A spokesman for the Peru Sea Institute confirmed the find but placed the number of dead sea lions below 20.
An investigation has been launched to determine what caused the deaths, he said.
According to Yaipen, the area’s fishermen consider the sea lions — a protected species — as competition, often feeding them fish filled with poison that at times are also consumed by turtles and dolphins.
Yaipen also appealed to authorities to step up their oversight of the fishing industry and the use of poisonous substances, saying these can also affect human health.