A sea lion pup rescued off Docweiler Beach in this undated photo. Photo courtesy of Marine Animal Rescue
A sea lion pup rescued off Dockweiler Beach in this undated photo. Photo courtesy of Marine Animal Rescue

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offered a $5,000 reward Wednesday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people who stole a baby sea lion from its mother at Dockweiler State Beach last weekend.

“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,” said PETA Senior Director Martin Mersereau.”PETA is urging anyone with information about this kidnapping to come forward immediately so that if this pup is alive, he or she can receive medical care and hopefully be returned to the sea.”

A witness reported seeing two men and two women in their early to mid 20s throwing rocks and cinder blocks at the pup Sunday before putting it in a blanket and driving away southbound on Vista Del Mar in a black Honda Civic with a license plate ending with the number 56.

The theft is a violation of federal law, punishable by a $10,000 and a year in custody.

The Los Angeles Police Department reported Monday that a witness said the suspects were harassing and taunting two baby sea lions before taking one.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, a federal agency, was investigating the theft since sea lions are federally protected.

Anyone with information about the suspects or the sea lion pup was urged to contact the NOAA at 800 853-1964 or the LAPD’s Pacific Station at (310) 482-6334. Calls can also be directed to (877) LAPD-24-7, and anonymous tips can be provided by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

— City News Service

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