Dead sea lions and nude sunbathers don’t mix. At least, that’s the message from some Orange County, California, nudists in response to the rotting carcass of a sea lion buried at one of their favorite haunts.

 

State park officials say a spot just a few yards from a volleyball court at a San Onofre beach was a perfectly reasonable burial place for the 10-foot sea lion found on the shore at a more popular beach.

 

"We just found an animal ... we had to bury it... it's something we do with every animal," Steve Scott, district maintenance chief for the Orange Coast District told the Orange County Register. "We apologize. I guess nature just happens."

 

But the stench and a fin sticking up out of the sand gave away the dead animal’s location, according to angry nudists who frequent the area.

 

The nudists, who recently lost a lengthy court battle with state parks and recreation board to keep the area a clothing-optional beach, believe the sea lion was buried there in retaliation for the fight.

 

"It's either retaliation or ignorance," said Allan Baylis, head of Naturalists of the OC. "They have a choice. They can bury it where it is or take it to a landfill where it won't bother anybody, or take it to a place where there's people they don't like and bury it there."

 

After complaints, maintenance crews reburied the carcass deeper into the sand at the same location, but the smell remains.

 

"I would just stay away from it," said Scott. "It's a dead animal."