(CBS SF) — The killings of three sea otters off the Santa Cruz County coast have prompted authorities to offer a reward to help find out who was responsible.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced a $10,000 reward Monday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever shot and killed the otters earlier this month.

READ MORE: Deadly Ghost Ship Fire Defendant Derick Almena Faces Sentencing

One adult and two juvenile southern sea otters were found shot dead between Santa Cruz Harbor and Seacliff State Beach in Aptos between August 12 and 19, according to the state Fish and Wildlife department.

Initial results from necropsies indicated the otters died several weeks prior to washing ashore.

READ MORE: Bay Area COVID-19 Roundup: Vaccinations By Zip Code: East Bay Entrepreneurs Eager for Red Tier Easing; Goodwill To Close 8 Local Retail Stores

Southern sea otters are a protected species, classified as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. They are also protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and by California state law.

Anyone who kills a southern sea otter faces fines of up to $100,000 and a possible jail sentence.

The CDFW, along with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and an unidentified private donor are contributing to the reward.

MORE NEWS: Bay Area College Students Speak Out About Experiencing Anti-Asian Racism