The carcass of a sea lion found on Parksville Beach last week will not be removed from the shoreline, said a DFO official.
“If it’s fairly decomposed it’s doing its trick with the food web,” said Paul Cottrell, a marine mammals coordinator for the Pacific Region of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). “We try to let animals go back to nature.”
While the carcass may be foul for the noses of those who live nearby, the turkey vultures and eagles in the area are also honing in on the smelly sea lion. “It’s an important food source for them,” said Cottrell.
Unless the animal has died of unnatural causes, like a human-related death, the DFO will leave the animal alone.
“We want to know if it’s human caused, (so) we can prevent that from happening,” said Cottrell.
In this instance, the cause of death would most likely be old age, Cottrell said, as only a single carcass was found.
Cottrell said if it’s a nuisance to the community, clean-up responsibility lies with the municipal government.
Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre said he believes responsibility lies with the provincial government.
“This matter has been referred to a provincial Conservation Officer to take whatever action they deem necessary, as it is their responsibility,” Lefebvre wrote in an e-mail to The NEWS.
Call 1-877-952-7277 to report any sightings of dead wildlife.