PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. -

Several wildlife agencies announced Friday they will be offering a reward to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for three dead sea otters found on Asilomar Beach.

Biologists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium found the three California sea otters in September of last year shot to death on Asilomar Beach, but researchers and investigators from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are just now informing the public.  

Several agencies have collaborated to offer a $21,000 reward for information that would lead to an arrest and conviction of the people responsible for the crime.

Killing a California or southern sea otter is a crime punishable by federal and state fines and penalties and possible jail time.

California sea otters are struggling to survive in the wild; their population hovers around 3,000 animals, down from historic highs estimated at 15,000-17,000 (pre-fur trade era).

Information regarding the this should be directed to Special Agent Souphanya of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 650-876-9078. An anonymous report can also be made by calling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contact line at 703-358-1949, or the California Department of Fish and Wildlife CalTIP line at 1-888-DFG-CALTIP.