Reward offered for information on pelican attacks

The International Bird Rescue based in San Pedro is offering a $5,000 award for information about the malicious attacks on five pelicans.

SAN PEDRO一On Dec. 21 the International Bird Rescue released a statement offering $5,000 for information regarding a series of vicious attacks on brown pelicans in the Marina Del Rey and Ventura Harbor areas.

The reward was offered just days after the most recent pelican was discovered at the Ventura Harbor Ecological Reserve.

The bird was brought in on Dec. 15 with symmetrical slashes to the bird’s gular, a pouch-like area that hangs below the bill, and was later euthanized due to its injuries.

Dr. Rebecca Duerr, director of research and veterinary science for the rescue, and the clinic staff believe the attacks on the birds were deliberate due to the precision of the cuts and the grouping of the attacks.

Five birds were brought in over a 12-month period with the same injuries, slicing the gular and following it to the back of the bird’s head where the skin was split from the neck.

“In 11 years, International Bird Rescue’s staff veterinarian, Rebecca Duerr, DVM MPVM PhD, has seen hundreds of pelican pouch injuries,” said a Dec. 21 press release from the International Bird Rescue. “The majority of these injuries are caused by fish hooks, boat propeller strikes, and other mishaps. These recent injuries are different. Duerr says the wounds are straight cuts through both sides of the bird’s pouch, indicating foul play, extending back along one or both sides of the neck – peeling the skin off the bird’s neck.”

All five birds were found between Marina del Rey and Ventura harbor and brought to Duerr and her team.

Three of the five birds were able to be released back into the wild after extensive surgery that required hundreds of stitches to reattach the pouch and roughly two months of rehabilitation.

In a video released by the rescue on their Youtube channel, you can follow the journey of one of the pelicans from its rehabilitation to its release in August of last year.

The Brown Pelican was removed from the endangered species list in 2009 but it is still protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Harming them is a crime.

There are a little over 6,000 nesting pairs of the California Brown Pelican, which is only native to the Pacific west coast, as far north as Canada, and as far south as Mexico, according to the National Park website.

Duerr asks that the public keeps an eye out for the pelicans and if you see an injured bird, call the Department of Fishing and Wildlife or your local animal rescue.

If you have information about these cases or witness someone harming other wildlife, please call the CalTIP hotline 888-334-2258, the “CalTIP” app available in the App Store, or by texting “CALTIP”, followed by a space and the message, to 847411 (tip411). Please include penal code 597 in the report.

For more information, you can see the International Bird Rescue website at https://www.birdrescue.org.

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