PETA announced a $5,000 reward Wednesday for help in finding a sea lion pup that was believed to have been abducted from Dockweiler State Beach over the weekend.
According to a witness, two men and two women in their early to mid-20s were seen taunting and teasing a mother sea lion and her two pups in the 12500 block of Vista Del Mar (map), at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday.
The witness claimed the four people were throwing rocks and cinder blocks, then put one of the young sea lions in a blanket and drove away, a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals news release stated.
Responding police and marine animal rescue officials located one pup, but said the mother had escaped.
The four people were said to have driven away in a black Honda Civic that was heading south on Vista Del Mar, according to the news release.
The last two digits of the car’s license plate were said to be “56.”
A reward of up to $5,000 was being offered by PETA for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits, the animal rights organization stated in the news release.
“This seal pup has already suffered greatly from the trauma of being separated from his or her mother and is most likely terrified, lacking proper nutrition, and in desperate need of rescue,” PETA Senior Director Martin Mersereau said.
If caught, the four people face federal charges since sea lions are protected animals, Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Paula Davidson said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hotline at 1-800-853-1964.