PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. (CBS Seattle) – A gruesome discovery was made on a Washington beach last week.
A baby seal was found beheaded and skinned at Fort Worden State Park, according to the Peninsula Daily News. Marine mammal specialists believe the seal’s death was caused by a human.
Chrissy McLean, the principal investigator for the East Jefferson County Marine Mammal Stranding Network, tells the paper she has never seen anything like this before.
“I was shocked when I saw this,” she said.
McLean told the paper that the seal’s skin, which has value and is commonly sold on the black market, is illegal to own or sell. She said that seals do come up to the beach to rest, but should not be touched by humans.
Blood was found scattered around the area and investigators are treating this as a crime.
“Part of my job is to investigate how animals die, and it hurts to see when an animal dies from unnecessary causes,” McLean told the Peninsula Daily News.
All mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and violators of that act can face a penalty up to $20,000, one year imprisonment, or both.
No suspects have yet been named in the case.