A southern California wildlife organization is seeking answers after more than 30 pelicans were attacked and maimed along the state’s coast.
The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center, a nonprofit group that works with injured wildlife in Orange County, said Monday that 32 brown pelicans had been significantly injured between the towns of Huntington Beach and San Clemente since March. Of the injured pelicans, 22 sustained complex wing fractures. Only 10 survived, according to the New York Times.
But the organization believes that someone, or certain people, is behind these attacks.
“Someone is intentionally breaking the wings of the brown pelican,” they said in a statement Monday. “We need your help to find the one who commits this atrocious act.”
The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center has started working alongside state wildlife officials and law enforcement to determine who is behind the attacks. Debbie McGuire, executive director of the organization, told USA TODAY that a $ 500 reward was being offered in hopes of making an arrest.
“It’s not something you can hide,” Debbie Wayns of the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center told The New York Times. “The kind of damage that happens with these pelicans, someone brutally injures these animals.”
The organization is also soliciting donations to help pay for pelican surgeries and care. McGuire said the surgery can cost around $ 5,000 and thousands more in rehabilitation.
“These are very serious injuries that require emergency surgery and long term care,” said veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Wood.
The brown pelican was once an endangered species in the state in the 1970s, according to the National Park Service. The birds have since made a comeback, but they still remain a protected species in the state.
McGuire added that this was not the first time in the state’s history that pelicans have been attacked. Eleven pelicans were found with broken or twisted wings at Bolsa Chica State Beach in September 2008, with only one surviving the attacks. In December 2020, four pelicans were found with their throats cut in Marina del Rey and the port of Ventura.
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