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Over 320 sea lions and some whales were found dead on the beaches of the northern coasts of Peru this month.

Director of ORCA, Carlos Yaipén, said they had been monitoring the situation over the past few weeks and concluded the lions were killed by artisanal fishermen.

He explained the whales died because of the season, which always sees too much traffic of the species. However, the sea lions were killed by local fishermen ‘to protect their livelihood’. He added that they also found some poisoned animals.

Incidentally, two of the fishermen were caught on tape by a passer-by trying to kill a sea lion by throwing rocks at his head in a beach in the Samanco district.

After enduring several blows to the head, the stuck animal was still attempting to free himself and get away from the fishermen.

William Martinez, head of ngo Natura, said to local media: “The images are brutal, very shocking. It is close to two major protected area. These lions live there.”

After the video went viral in the country, the fishermen were identified as Juan José Flores Castillo, 37, and Luís Chauca Quino, 45.

“I just wanted to scare him,” said Flores Castillo.

He defended himself saying that he never wanted to seriously hurt the animal and that he was trying to scare him away because he had broken his nets. “With a stone you will never kill an animal of over 200 kilos, that’s impossible,” he argued.

Both men were arrested and later released due to lack of laws protecting these type of animals. They will only receive an administrative sanction.

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