Federal authorities are investigating the shooting of a gray seal that was spotted on a Cape Cod beach earlier this month.
Authorities say the adult male seal was spotted Oct. 2 and euthanized two days later. A necropsy showed that the animal had been shot several times in the head.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration investigator Todd Nickerson tells the Cape Cod Times that while not considered an endangered species under federal laws, gray seals are protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
The animals swim in New England waters year-round.
The shooter is convicted faces a fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year behind bars.
Information from: Cape Cod Times, http://www.capecodonline.com