San Pedro, CA
Broken radius and ulna bones in a California
Brown Pelican's wing. (Karen Benzel/IBRRC)
Since the first mutilated
pelicans came into the International Bird Rescue Research
Centers (IBBRC) San Pedro facility in December, support
from the public, the media and other animal welfare groups
has been overwhelming.
With a reward fund of more than $25,500 from
individuals and groups including the International Fund for
the Humane Society of the United States, Whale
Rescue Team, United Animal Nations,
Audubon, and Friends of Long Beach Animals, its hoped
that if anyone has information about who might be maiming
the endangered birds, they will come forward.
The endangered California Brown Pelicans began
showing up dead on Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, around December
22, 2002. Mark Russell,
on duty at the center that day, was shocked when told that
seven dead pelicans were found on the beach. Upon examination
of the bodies, he found that all appeared to have been shot,
with one having its right wing broken as well. Knowing
the birds where California Brown Pelicans, protected by the
Endangered Species Act, he called the law enforcement division
of US Fish & Wildlife Service. The dead bodies were taken
into evidence and an investigation was begun immediately.
Over the next few weeks, seven more pelicans were
brought to the center, all with their right wings broken beyond
repair. None of the birds survived their injuries. What makes
this even more tragic is that all the birds were healthy,
mature adults, entering breeding season. The birds lay only
one or two eggs a year and the loss of a mate during breeding
season may mean they dont breed at all. The mortality
rate for baby pelicans is extremely high. Only about 30% make
it to adulthood. The forensics division of USFWS in Oregon
has possession of the bodies and a report is expected shortly.
Anyone knowing who the killer of the pelicans might be should
call USFWS at (310) 328-1516. Anyone wishing to make a donation
to help all pelicans that come into the rescue center, or
wanting to add to the reward money, should call IBRRC at (310) 514-2573.
Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 2816, San Pedro, CA 90731.
IBRRC is located at the Los Angeles Oiled Bird
Care and Education Center in Fort Mac Arthur, 3601 South Gaffey,
San Pedro. Phone (310) 514-2573 or 2574. There is a press
conference at the center on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 10
AM. Directions to the center.
Return to list of
Karen Benzel, International Bird Rescue Research
Office: (831) 622-7588