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Man who shot and killed elephant seal on California coast sentenced to federal prison

A man was sentenced Monday to three months in federal prison for killing a protected northern elephant seal on the central California coast near San Simeon. A Los Angeles federal judge also sentenced Jordan Gerbich, 30, to one year of supervised release after his prison term, three months of house arrest, 120 hours of community service and ordered him to pay. a fine of $ 1,000, the US attorney’s office said.

The remains of the seal were found on September 29, 2019 near a popular viewing area along Highway 1, where visitors can observe marine mammals on the beach, federal officials said. The animal had been shot in the head, the caudal fins cut off and the chest cavity open.

Gerbich, who then lived in Santa Maria and now lives in Coalville, Utah, pleaded guilty last year to one count of illegal taking of a marine mammal, the office said.

The northern elephant seal is a protected species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, CBS Los Angeles reported. The species lives along the Pacific coast of North America and is often seen on land in areas called rookeries, where populations of elephant seals can vary with breeding and moulting cycles, depending on officials from the Department of Justice in Los Angeles.

Man who shot and killed elephant seal on California coast sentenced to federal prison
This August 16, 2015, a file photo shows elephant seals on a beach in Piedras Llancas near San Simeon California Coats in San Simeon, California.

Nick Ut / AP

According to prosecutors, Gerbich visited an elephant seal viewing area near the Piedras Blancas Marine Reserve and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on September 28, 2019.

He used a .45 caliber pistol to shoot the elephant seal, which was found the next day with a bullet hole in the head.

Last year, before Gerbich was charged, the NOAA Fisheries Law Enforcement Office offered a reward of up to $ 20,000 for information on the seal shooter.

The prosecution’s sentencing memorandum said the motive remained unclear, but Gerbich knew it was wrong.


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