Yarmouth Port, Mass.
Elegant Tern. (IBRRC photo)
n June 28, reports of dead baby
terns on the shores of Long Beach
send wildlife rescue professionals
and vets from the near by International
Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC)
to investigate. What they
found was shocking and horrifying. An
estimated 300-500 baby terns, some
only a day old were dead in the
surf, and littering the beach.
13 live baby terns were found and
rushed to intensive care at IBRRC’s
center in San Pedro.
The California Department
of Fish & Game
and the U.S Coast Guard also responded
and are trying to determine if
the baby birds were forced off
the barge, located in the Los Angeles
Harbor. Because the birds
are protected by Federal Migratory
bird laws, and animal cruelty is
a felony in California, if this
act was intentionally human caused,
it is an extremely serious crime.
The International Fund
for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
has posted a $10,000 reward for
information on this event. Anyone
that would help investigators is
asked to phone the Department of
Fish and Game's CalTIP hotline
(Californians Turn-In Poachers
and Polluters), at 888-DFG-CALTIP
Approximately 2,000 Elegant and
Caspian terns nest in a breeding
colony near Long Beach. The colony
is a tourist attraction in the
area and known for its status as
the northern-most colony of terns.
Terns are migratory birds that
winter in Central and South America
and breed mostly on small islands
off the coast of Baja California.
The dead birds were all less than
a month old and appeared free of
disease. IFAW has also offered $5,000
for the care and rehabilitation of
rescued terns. IFAW and IBRRC work
closely in partnership responding
to oil spills and other disasters
that affect animals around the world.
IBRRC has been helping
birds around the world since 1971.
Its mission is to mitigate human
impact on aquatic birds and other
wildlife. This is achieved through
rehabilitation, emergency response,
education, research, planning and
Founded in 1969,
IFAW works around the globe to
protect animals and their habitats
and to create a better world for
animals and people. See: IFAW website