Californian state authorities are now appealing to the members of the public to help it identify the people who have resorted to killing sea otters in the southern sea. Over the last 15 days, at least four sea otters have found dead in Santa Cruz. Initial examinations reveal that the otters had been shot.
Among the otters shot, two were juvenile males while the rest were adult females. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service fears that more otters, which are yet to be documented, could have been shot over the last one month. The officials also suspect that another otter might have been shot last week. The otters were washed up along the Californian central coast and must have been killed three days earlier.
The authorities will award up to $10,000 to anyone who has helpful information that could lead to the arrest of the people behind the fatal attacks on these sea mammals. The authorities gave a hotline to enable anyone communicate with them promptly. They encouraged callers to remain synonymous for their own safety.
Otters are carnivorous mammals. They are marine-based with main diet consisting of fish, and other invertebrates such as crabs and frogs. The Californian otters are well known to navigate the sea waters between San Mateo and Santa Barbara. The animals are protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Californian state law. If one is found guilty of killing a sea otter, he or she may be liable for a fine up to $100,000 or a jail time exceeding 12 months. The animals were listed by the federal government as endangered species in 1977 after they were strongly hunted for fur. According to US Fish and Wildlife Service, there are only 3,000 otters remaining in Californian waters.
In 2013 alone, more than four otters were killed, an act that was widely condemned by authorities. Unfortunately, no one was persecuted following the shootings. The state is now appealing to anyone who might have information on the people responsible, or anyone who finds another dead otter to report to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.