Two surviving gulls who were part of a flock of sick and dead birds found last month on Huntington Beach have been re-released after weeks of rehabilitation.
Mystery still surrounds what appears to be a case of possible poisoning after the seagulls were found Oct. 10, washed up in the ocean tide line, wrapped in seaweed and covered in sand.
The disturbing scene included a dozen gulls lying on their backs, feet up. Eight of them were already dead.
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"I thought they were dead. Some of them were, but some of them were dying and highly distressed," said Allana Seely Foster, the Huntington Beach resident and reiki master who found the first few gulls.
Soon after photos of the gulls were posted on Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center social media pages, rumors started swirling that the birds had been poisoned. Birds in Huntington Beach had previously been poisoned by prescription pills in December of 2018.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife sent two of the gull carcasses to a lab for necropsies. Lisa Perrone, wildlife manager at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center, said that her team also sent off two gull carcasses to be tested at UC Davis.
"We don't know how it occurred. We went through testing at UC Davis, which showed an enlarged liver and an enlarged heart -- which is indicative of some some sort of toxic event," said Perrone.
It is yet to be determined if the toxic event was accidental or intentional. Results from the necropsies commissioned by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have yet to be revealed.
Perrone has spent over three weeks rehabilitating the surviving four gulls. One of them didn't make it. In front of an audience of volunteers that work for Perrone, and Seely Foster, two of the surviving gulls were re-released on Tuesday morning between lifeguard towers 3 and 9, the location where they were found.
The last survivor is still receiving care from Perrone and her team. They anticipate the gull will also be released once it has fully recovered. A happy end to a disturbing ordeal.