CA Man Charged For Shooting Protected Elephant Seal

Courthouse News reports:

Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges Tuesday against a California man who fatally shot a northern elephant seal on a beach on the Central Coast. In September 2019, authorities discovered the corpse of a northern elephant seal on a beach near San Simeon. The animal had been shot in the head. The beach — located off California Highway 1 — is close to an observation deck where the public can view elephant seals.

The seal was a female and was found with “its tail fins cut off and chest cavity cut open.” After an investigation by NOAA and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, prosecutors charged Jordan Gerbich, 30, with fatally shooting the mammal on September 28, 2019. If convicted, Gerbich faces a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison.