Local News

Pelicans deliberately injured, rescuers say

Posted November 21, 2010 10:17 a.m. EST

— Rescuers say that eight pelicans found dead or wounded on a North Carolina beach in the past two weeks were deliberately injured.

Six pelicans were found dead on North Topsail Beach Saturday, said Toni O'Neil, director of Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary, an Onslow County nonprofit that specializes in waterfowl rehabilitation.

One pelican's pouch had been slit, and the others had wounds from pellet gunshots. Two had the ends of their wings smashed in.

A week earlier, two injured pelicans were found less than a mile apart on North Topsail Beach, O'Neil said.

Their wings had been cut open, severing the tendons and muscles they use to fly. O'Neil said that kind of injury can't be healed, so the pelicans had to be euthanized.

Pelicans with similar injuries were found along North Topsail Beach last year, but the injuries ceased after an investigation began, she said.

O'Neil urged anyone who sees injured pelicans to report them, so they can be helped to heal or put down humanely.

The incidents have been reported to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Pelicans are protected by federal law, which stipulates penalties for injuring them.