Otter Pup Killed by Gunshot Near North Morro Bay
California Department of Fish and Game News Release
June 30, 2010
Contact: Warden Hank Hodel, DFG Law Enforcement, (805) 610-3920
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988
Information Sought on Sea Otter Shooting on Morro Bay Beach
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is seeking information about a sea otter that was shot in Morro Bay on Thursday, June 24.
The young female otter was found just north of the Morro Strand Campground along the beach in Morro Bay. Wardens estimate that the animal was killed by a shot to the head between 9 a.m. and noon. A necropsy was conducted and the weapon was determined to be a pellet gun.
DFG is seeking witnesses or any information related to the shooting. Anyone with information is urged to contact DFG Warden Hank Hodel at (805) 610-3920. An anonymous report can also be made by calling DFG’s CalTIP line, 1-888-DFG-CALTIP.
Sea otters are federally protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Code of Federal Regulations. If convicted of shooting an otter, an individual can face up to $10,000 in fines.
On June 24 Mike Baird found this sea otter pup and contacted Fish & Game. We, of course, would love to see the person guilty of this senseless killing found and prosecuted. The images below are part of the set Mike took and are presented here not for the purpose of shocking you, but to let you see what happened and perhaps cause you to give serious thought to any information you might have to share with Fish & Game. Please pass this along to others in the area. Someone is going to know something. The following text is written by Mike:
Sea Otter (intentionally shot and killed), female pup, 77cm length, Morro Strand State Beach 24 June 2010
Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) (intentionally shot and killed), female pup, 77cm length, Morro Strand State Beach near Northpoint bluff, Toro Lane and Beachcomber Dr., near the State Park Campground, Morro Bay, CA. recently shot and killed by someone, 24 June 2010, as determined by on site necropsy by Mike Harris of California Fish & Game. (ref. Michael Harris, Environmental Scientist/Sea Otter Biologist, Calif. Dept of Fish and Game, OSPR-Veterinary Services, 1385 Main Street, Morro Bay, CA 93442, 805.772.1135 office; 831.212.7090 cell; mikeharris [at} ospr.dfg.ca d o t gov. I (Mike Baird) found and reported this otter at 5:25 pm 24 June 2010. I pulled it from a rising tide at the waters edge to the highest adjacent point using a mutt mitt bag, and tagged the subject for Mike Harris’ attention. I left a message for him at 805.772.1135, emailed the first three images with GPS coordinates to him and to Flickr, and moments later Mike Harris responded and was on the scene. These graphic images document the on site necropsy process, and, as can be seen, a bullet (lead pellet?) was found in the skull of the baby otter and recent blood trauma was found around the wound under the skin and on the skull. By request, these graphic images and videos were not immediately published in public view here on Flickr, pending permission by Fish and Game, as they wanted to address how to best handle publication of such crime scene information to optimize their ability to prosecute this crime.
Threatened California Sea Otter Shot Dead
The environmental group, Defenders of Wildlife, is offering a $2500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who fatally shot a southern sea otter. Wildlife authorities investigating the crime believe that the sea otter was either shot at sea or along the shoreline and was found north of the Morro Strand Campground on June 24. Defenders of Wildlife hope the reward will help bring the culprit to justice. If you have any information, call US Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Mona Iannelli at 310-328-1516 x229. According to the Tribune, funding for the Defenders of Wildlife's reward comes from their Endangered Species Reward Fund established in 1998 to bring illegal poachers to justice.
Click on any image to be taken to the original on Mike's Flickr site. To view all of the still shots, click here.
Graphic video of the necropsy.
Belted Kingfisher image on banner by Cleve Nash
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