More than 50 brown pelicans found injured, sick or starving in Southern California

SAN PEDRO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A San Pedro wildlife center is getting swamped with sick and injured brown pelicans.

More than 50 birds have been brought to the International Bird Rescue's Los Angeles Wildlife Center in just the past few days, prompting the organization to call it a "major pelican crisis" in Los Angeles.

Some pelicans have multiple embedded fish hooks, some have fractures from being hit by cars, and some are just cold and hungry.

The director of the center thinks food supply issues may be contributing to the problem.

"We're seeing a mix of fledglings, second-year birds, and mature adults, which makes me think it could be a food supply issue rather than a simple influx of starving fledglings", said Dr. Rebecca Duerr, Bird Rescue's Director of Research and Veterinary Science.

Bird Rescue officials remind the fishing public to not cast lines into groups of feeding birds to avoid snaring the birds. Also, until this flood of birds stops, the center urges to keep an eye out for pelicans landing in unusual locations, such as along Pacific Coast Highway.

Those who find a pelican in need of care, are urged to contact International Bird Rescue's Bird HelpLine at (310) 514-2573, or call their local animal control agency after business hours. If pelicans are found in Malibu, call California Wildlife Center at (310) 458-9453.

Donations for food and medical supplies for the pelicans can be made at www.birdrescue.org/donate.

Brown pelicans were put on the endangered species list in 1970 due to exposure to DDT, then removed in 2009.

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