The feds charged Jordan Gerbich, 30, of Santa Maria, a Santa Barbara County man with shooting and killing a northern elephant seal on a beach near San Simeon. The Marine Mammal Protection Act protects the Northern elephant seals species. They live up and down North America's Pacific coast and haul out on land in areas called rookeries. These rookeries are typically populated with elephant seals year-round, but populations vary throughout the year based on breeding and molting cycles.
In September 2019, the corpse of a northern elephant seal was found on a beach near San Simeon close to a popular viewing area along California Highway 1 where visitors can observe elephant seals. The animal had been shot in the head. Gerbich is charged with fatally shooting the mammal on September 28, 2019.
An information contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted of the misdemeanor offense alleged in the information, Gerbich would face a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison.