SAUSALITO — A sea lion dubbed King Neptune rescued after being found shot near the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf has died.

The Marine Mammal Center is Sausalito says the 320-pound animal was euthanized after tests showed that an infection from the gunshot wound had spread.

King Neptune is just one of a number of marine mammals, mostly sea lions, found suffering from gunshot wounds that the center treats each year.

In 2010 the center admitted 9 gunshot wound patients, and in 2009 it treated 19 such patients.

Shooting or harming marine mammals is a violation of federal law under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

While violators can receive fines or jail, few cases are prosecuted because there are often few witnesses to the shootings.