The curious case of the missing face: Death of California sea lion by Dungeness crab trap

Rif S. El-Mallakh, Michael Hartman


Marine mammals frequently interact with human detritus due to their proximity to shores and shared target foods. Sea lions have been known to attempt to obtain bait inside crab traps. A case is described in which the pattern of decomposition of a California Sea Lion, Zalophus californianus, suggests that it likely became entangled and drowned while attempting to get Dungeness crab trap bait. This represents the first case of California Sea Lion death related to interaction with a crab trap.


California Sea Lion, Zalophus californianus, Dungeness crab, Metacarcinus magister, Crab traps.

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