LOS ANGELES - A Santa Maria man was charged in federal court in Los Angeles for fatally shooting an elephant seal in 2019.
Jordan Gerbich, 30, is accused of shooting and killing a northern elephant seal on a San Simeon beach in September 2019.
On September 28, 2019, the body of the seal was found near a popular viewing area off of Highway 1. The seal was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. The seal also had its fins cut off and its chest cavity opened.
In January, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement offered a $20,000 reward for information that led to the arrest of the person responsible for killing the seal.
The northern elephant seal, which lives all across the Pacific Coast, is a protected species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The seals lay out in rookeries across the state of California.
If convicted, Gerbich could face a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison.
The NOAA investigated the case with assistance by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.