Former Santa Maria Resident Sentenced for Killing Elephant Seal

Former Santa Maria Resident Sentenced for Killing Elephant Seal title=
Jordan Gerbich Mugshot from 2017 Arrest (Courtesy Santa Maria Police Department)
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Source: Department of Justice

A former resident of Santa Barbara County was sentenced today to three months in federal prison for fatally shooting a northern elephant seal on a beach near San Simeon.

Jordan Gerbich, 30, who at the time of the offense resided in Santa Maria and who now lives in Coalville, Utah, was sentenced by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer. Judge Fischer also ordered Gerbich to be placed on one year of supervised release following his release from prison, serve a three-month term of home detention, perform 120 hours of community service, and pay a $1,000 fine.

Gerbich pleaded guilty in December 2020 to one misdemeanor count of illegally taking a marine mammal.

On September 28, 2019, Gerbich drove to an elephant seal viewing area adjacent to the Piedras Blancas Marine Reserve and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Gerbich brought a .45-caliber pistol and, aided with a flashlight, used the firearm to shoot and kill a northern elephant seal as the animal was resting on the beach in the Piedras Blancas rookery. The next day, the elephant seal was discovered on the beach with a bullet hole in its head.

“It remains unclear what motivated [Gerbich] to commit such an act; nevertheless, [Gerbich] knew it was wrong,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.

Northern elephant seals are a protected species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. 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.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement investigated this matter. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife provided substantial assistance.

Assistant United States Attorney Heather C. Gorman of the Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section prosecuted this case.

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Babycakes Apr 13, 2021 03:18 PM
Former Santa Maria Resident Sentenced for Killing Elephant Seal

His big ol' smile may be offensive to some, but make no mistake, he wasn't smiling because he has some sort of mental defect, he is smiling because he thought that he was going to get away with it. That being said, the article states, "“It remains unclear what motivated [Gerbich] to commit such an act; nevertheless, [Gerbich] knew it was wrong...." I hope that he is not injured or beat up in jail because of his decision to "pop" an innocent elephant seal with a .45, but that he has time to reflect on his actions. Many people do stupid/stupid things, but we need to forgive and forget after that person has paid their price to society. Our society decided that he'd get three months, and per current rules/regulations, maybe he'll get out early due to Covid and/or good behavior. Most of us would agree that this man deserves a second chance to amend his ways.

biguglystick Apr 13, 2021 12:23 PM
Former Santa Maria Resident Sentenced for Killing Elephant Seal

Three months?!?! That's IT??? What is wrong with our justice system. There is NO justice for innocent animals. That seal was a sentient being. Animals are sentient thinking feeling beings. Just because they don't speak English doesn't mean they don't feel pain or love their young or their mates. This is insane. WE NEED MUCH TOUGHER ANIMAL CRUELTY LAWS in this country!!! This is a joke. People who kill animals usually graduate to killing people, it's a fact.

Seabird Apr 12, 2021 02:49 PM
Former Santa Maria Resident Sentenced for Killing Elephant Seal

He has a few kids in Utah who seem to be super good people from what I can tell. Hope he leaves them well enough alone to do better than he is. This dude is a menace. Not sure how, in over a year, the reason he would shoot an elephant seal in the head "is still unclear." It's totally clear: he's a psychopath. He's broken. Send him back to factory and forget his name.

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