Orange County

Legal Advocacy Group Offers $25K Reward for Information on OC Pelican Attacks

A total of 34 pelicans have been found dead or brutally mutilated along the Orange County coast, and one organization is offering $25,000 for information in the case.

Dr. Elizabeth Wood/Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center via AP

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, a legal advocacy group for animals, is offering $25,000 in reward money for information about continued attacks on brown pelicans in Orange County.

The organization on June 30 offered a $5,500 total reward for information, roughly two weeks after the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center announced the bird attacks.

Tuesday's $20,000 increase is in the hopes that someone will come forward with information "leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible" for the brutal pelican attacks, which have continued, the legal organization said.

When the Animal Legal Defense Fund announced the $5,500 reward, a total of 32 birds had been mutilated along the coast between San Clemente and Huntington Beach over the course of eight months.

According to the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center, at least 22 of the rescued pelicans had their wings broken so severely that bones came through the skin. The pinpointed, blunt trauma injuries, found consistently among all of the pelicans, led wildlife officials to believe the birds were attacked by humans.

Two more dead birds have since been found, totaling 34 wounded pelicans.

"Most pelicans did not survive, and those who did needed emergency surgery and long-term care," the Animal Legal Defense Fund said in a statement.

2 injured pelicans were released at Crystal Cove State Park after medical rehabilitation.

"We are hopeful that the local community will come forward with information in order to prevent further harm to these animals," the organization's executive director Stephen Wells said.

The state of California enforces a maximum penalty of up to $20,000, up to three years in prison or both for anyone who intentionally and maliciously maims a living animal.

Anyone with information is asked to call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at 1-888-334-2258 (1-888-334-CalTIP), and share their anonymous tip.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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