News from California tells us that endangered animals have been found dead, and the responsible must face the consequences. No less than three sea otters were found dead on the coast of California, and specialists say that it was bullets what caused the deadly wounds.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife informs us that the bodies of three sea otters were discovered near Santa Cruz Harbor. Although the law protects the animals, as they are an endangered species, the wounds showed that a hunter was behind the killing. Nevertheless, he didn’t claim the prey.
Officials also found that there were two young sea otter males and one adult. They think that the killing must have occurred towards the end of July and the beginning of August. The animals were found between August 12 and 19, and an analysis of the bodies showed them that the wounds could be even some weeks old. Further analyses will also reveal what type of bullets were used.
There was also a fourth body of a sea otter but is was at a high degree of decomposition.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife stated that the hunter responsible for the shooting faces a jail punishment, as well as a fine which amounts to $100,000. There is also a reward of $10,000 for people who can provide any kind of information on the hunter.
Sea otters are an endangered species, threaten not only by natural predators like sharks but also by humans. Their thick fur is highly valuable on the market. Although they can walk on land, they live most of their life in the water, and are among the smallest marine animals, but the largest in their family. Sea otters have been hunted by humans for decades, since early 1970, which drastically reduced the population. Only the efforts of environmentalists were able to save the animals, but the recent event in California show that they are not enough. Now there are only a few thousand individuals left worldwide.
Sea otters are famous for their habit of holding hands while floating on their backs so that they don’t get lost one from another. They feed on several species of fish, but also on sea urchins and abalone, whose populations have recently increased due to global warming. So sea otters are crucial for the right balance of the ecosystem.
Authorities hope to find the culprit as soon as possible.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia