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Lifeguards discover 11 maimed pelicans

September 19, 2008 7:36:03 AM PDT
Lifeguards have discovered 11 maimed pelicans on an Orange County beach within three days.Seven birds were found dead, and four were found severely injured. Of the four found alive, three of them had to be put down because of the severity of their injuries.

Wildlife experts are trying to nurse the sole surviving bird, a 3-year-old female pelican, back to life. Her right wing is cut, the feathers are gone, exposing raw skin.

"She came in extremely hypothermic. Her body temperature was 98 degrees, and for a pelican, they're usually 104 to 106, so she's been fighting even to keep her temperature up, so we're having to keep her inside on heat," said Lisa Birkie from the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center.

The care center is giving the pelican vitamins, medication and electrolytes.

The California Brown Pelicans were discovered by lifeguards on Bolsa Chica State Beach.

With the exception of the one survivor, all the pelicans had broken wings -- the wings had been snapped backward. One bird had three to four inches of bone projecting from both wings.

Biologists at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center believe that the injuries are intentional. They said 11 birds found with injuries like these within three days do not naturally occur.

The center says there are reports of two other injured pelicans that have not been located.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for details leading to an arrest and conviction.

Anyone with information is asked to call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (310) 328-1516.

 

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