Reward offered after elephant seal shot, killed near San Simeon

Posted at 12:56 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 21:31:06-05

A reward is being offered for information in the September shooting death of a northern elephant seal near San Simeon.

NOAA Fisheries says the seal's remains were found September 29, 2019 near the Elephant Seal Vista Point along Highway 1.

The agency says the animal was shot in the head. Its tail fins were also cut off and its chest cavity was cut open.

A bullet found in the seal is awaiting forensic analysis.

Elephant seals and other marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It carries civil penalties of up to $28,520 per count, a year in prison, criminal fines, and forfeiture of vessels or vehicles involved.

Northern elephant seals spend most of the year at sea, but come ashore twice a year in rookeries such as the beaches at Piedras Blancas, near San Simeon.

Anyone with information should call the investigating agent direct at (831) 647-4203 or NOAA Fisheries’ 24/7 enforcement hotline at (800) 853-1964.

NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Law Enforcement is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information that leads to a civil penalty or criminal conviction in the September shooting death.