A $5,000 reward was offered Monday by the International Bird Rescue in San Pedro for information that helps find whoever is responsible for severely injuring four California brown pelicans.
The pelicans were recently brought to the IBR clinic with severe injuries to their pouches and necks, and staffers suspect the wounds are "deliberate and malicious,'' according to the nonprofit organization.
Three of the four pelicans were from the Marina del Rey area, and the fourth was rescued near Ventura Harbor. There was also a fifth bird with similar injuries that came into the organization's care in 2019 from Ventura Harbor.
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In 11 years, International Bird Rescue's staff veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, has seen hundreds of pelican pouch injuries, most of them caused by fish hooks, boat propeller strikes and other mishaps.
But Duerr said the recent injuries differ in that they are straight cuts through both sides of the bird's pouch, extending back along one or both sides of the neck and peeling the skin off the bird's neck. The wounds leave the pelicans in shock and doomed to die in pain.
The most recent victim not only had symmetrical cuts slicing through the entirety of the pouch, detaching it from the neck, but also had a straight cut into the muscle at the back of the neck consistent with a knife or machete cut. The pelican had to be humanely euthanized because of the severity of the wounds.
"Please keep an eye out over the holidays,'' an IBR statement says. "We are asking our community of bird lovers to help protect vulnerable wildlife from human violence. Brown pelicans are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and harming them is a crime.''
Anyone who has information about the pelican cases or who witnesses someone harming other wildlife can call the CalTip hotline 800-541-4591, to report suspicious activity.
More information about International Bird Rescue is available at https://www.birdrescue.org/.