Sea otters found dead in California with gunshot wounds

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Sea Otters Found Dead In California With Gunshot Wounds

Sea otters are excellent parents, friends to their ecosystems, and just generally adorable, so why anyone would want to shoot one is rather confounding.

Nonetheless, in August, three of the animals washed up on the shores of southern California, reports BuzzFeed News.

All showed evidence of being struck by gunfire, and it is believed that is what caused their deaths.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are investigating the case.

See photos of sea otters below:

9 PHOTOS
Adorable sea otters
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Adorable sea otters
An Alaskan sea otter swims holding a heart-shaped block of ice, presented by his keeper in the aquarium of an amusement park in Yokohama on February 11, 2015. The event takes place once a day for park visitors until February 15 in celebration of Valentine's Day on February 14. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Alaskan sea otter swims holding a heart-shaped block of ice, presented by his keeper in the aquarium of an amusement park in Yokohama on February 11, 2015. The event takes place once a day for park visitors until February 15 in celebration of Valentine's Day on February 14. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, CANADA - FEBRUARY 18: A sea otter relaxes in his Vancouver aquarium tank February 18, 2009 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver is the host city for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games being held February 12-28, 2010. (Photo by Robert Giroux/Getty Images)
Sea Otter frolicking in the kelp bed, in the no otter zone south of Point Conception, off the Santa Barbara County coast. The no otter zone was created in 1982 to protect the shellfish industry and goes from south of Point Conception to the Mexican border. A new Sea Otter recovery plan, which will soon be issued, may and the no otter zone for the benefit of the species. (Photo by Ricardo Dearatanha/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Canadian sea otters swim on June 5, 2012 in the zoo of Amneville, eastern France. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN (Photo credit should read JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP/GettyImages)
Fifteen year-old Alaskan sea otter 'Yutan' swims as he holds a heart-shaped piece of ice treat given to him by his keeper at the aquarium at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise amusement park in Yokohama, a suburb of Tokyo, on February 6, 2016. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA / AFP / TORU YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Alaskan sea otter 'Yutan' swims as he holds a heart-shaped pice of ice given to him by his keeper at the aquarium at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise amusement park in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo, on February 11, 2013. Visitors can attend the event once a day in the afternoon until February 17 amid celebrations for St. Valentine's Day. AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Tokyo, JAPAN: A five-year-old female Russian sea otter Meel (L) holds her baby on her chest and swims in the large fish tank during a press preview at the Sunshine International Aquarium in Tokyo 13 June 2007. The aquarium unveiled the baby Russian sea ottar, born at the aquarium 02 June. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
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According to the Washington Post, they are also giving at least $10,000 in exchange for information leading to the capture of the person or persons responsible for the deaths.

Sea otters are classified as a threatened species and as such are protected by law, notes the Christian Science Monitor.

People who kill them are subject to a fine of up to $100,000 and possible time behind bars.

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