Brace yourselves for your Monday outrage: six months ago, three male sea otters — one adult and two juveniles — were found dead near Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove, California. The cause of death was determined to be gunshot wounds, likely fired by a talented shooter from the shore.
The Chronicle's resident outdoorsman, Tom Stienstra reports:
Two of the otters were shot in the head and the third was shot in the back. Necropsies in the federal wildlife lab recovered bullets where the lead was coated, Roca said. Coating increases hardness and reduces leading in barrels, a fairly new incarnation in the United States for high-level shooters.
Sea otters like those in Monterey are a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and ottercide is a crime punishable by a $100,000 fine and jail time. They also make for fairly easy targets, since they enjoy floating around on their backs and cracking open sea urchins in tide pools.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they have have no leads on the mustelid murderer, but there is currently a $21,000 reward out for any information leading to the shooter's arrest. Anyone with any information is encouraged to bring this guy to justice by contacting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (650) 876-9078. Or, if you're not interested in the reward money, anonymous reports should be phoned in to (703) 358-1949 or to state game wardens at (888) 334-3258.
Meanwhile, living otters rescued and rehabilitated at the Monterey Bay Aquarium can always be spotted in their safe house on the aquarium's otter cam: