Hundreds of sea lions die on Chilean coast

August 23, 2009 2:41:53 PM PDT
At least 200 sea lions have been found dead along Chile's northern coast. Local television stations Channels 7 and 13 are showing images of the dead and dying mammals on the rocks and in the sea near Iquique.

Chile's fishing service says many of the dead apparently are young sea lions abandoned when their mothers were drawn too far offshore hunting food. It says the El Nino phenomenon has made prey scarce near shore.

Environmental groups said Saturday they suspect a local molybdenum plant or other industry may be to blame.

News media in neighboring Peru reported earlier this month that more than 20 sea lions had been found dead in the Chimbote region there.

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