Environmental activists in Peru released three rehabilitated sea lions, the survivors of harrowing attacks, into the wild on Saturday.
Fiona, Felix and Flynn were rescued from three separate beaches three months ago and treated for wounds that activist Carlos Yaipen Llanos called "the result of human aggression" according to a BBC translation.
NBC reports that the sea lions were found in pretty bad shape after being attacked by fishermen. They were malnourished, dehydrated and suffering from kidney failure. One was reportedly in a coma.
The sea lions were rescued by the Organization for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals (ORCA), received treatment from specialists and were released near the Palomino Islands, a known sea lion habitat off the Peruvian coast near Lima.
Some organizations have criticized local tour companies for allowing patrons to swim with sea lions near the islands. Although it's said that properly managed tourism can benefit sea lions by highlighting their importance, Mundo Azul argued that allowing tourists to swim close to breeding beaches during mating season can trigger stampedes that hurt the animals, particularly young pups.
The BBC noted that rising sea temperatures have led to a decrease in fish stocks, which have left sea lion populations with limited food options.
Mundo Azul claims that small-scale fishermen in Peru have killed sea lions because they believe that the animals damage their nets.
"As a reaction to the supposed competition, artisan fishermen illegally kill sea lions and fur seals by clubbing them to death, poisoning or shooting them, as well as using dynamite," the website states.