Photo by Bill Steinkamp
As the story of “Pink” the mutilated California Brown Pelican continues to touch animal lovers across the country, an anonymous Southern California donor has doubled the reward money to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the vicious attack on this protected bird.
The additional reward money comes as the Port of Long Beach announced Thursday that it will give $5,000 towards the surgical and rehabilitative care of Pink, an adult bird captured by Long Beach Animal Care Services on April 16 with the pouch severed from the animal’s bill. The extent and nature of the wound is consistent with a human-caused injury with an unidentified sharp object.
“The Port of Long Beach has made great strides in recent years in improving the harbor environment both for people and wildlife, and we’re happy to be able to support the rehabilitation of Pink the Pelican,” said Al Moro, Acting Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “We’re looking forward to seeing Pink back in the skies over the harbor very soon.”
Over the past five days, Pink has undergone two surgeries — one on Sunday, the other on Tuesday — by International Bird Rescue staff veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr. The pelican was under anesthesia for a total of six hours as Dr. Duerr completed hundreds of stitches to repair the injury.
“Enough is enough,” said Jay Holcomb, Executive Director of International Bird Rescue. “Far too often, we see victims of senseless cruelty at the hands of people who are never punished. We are thankful for the support of an anonymous donor to bring further attention to this horrifying case, and grateful for the Port of Long Beach’s support of Pink’s long-term care.”
Upon capture over two weeks ago at the 5400 block of Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach, Pink was extremely anemic, likely from blood loss. By the first surgery, the bird was back up to near a normal red blood cell count, important for any animal undergoing lengthy surgeries. The pelican is currently being cared for in an indoor enclosure and is under the expert care of International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles center team.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is seeking information on this federal crime, which is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and a jail sentence of up to six months. Anyone with information that might lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the mutilation of this bird should contact USFWS at 310-328-1516. Tips may be given anonymously.
The $20,000 reward is also supported by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Lourdes Rivas & Patti Ballaz of Los Angeles, as well as several concerned citizens in the Los Angeles area who wish to remain anonymous
International Bird Rescue depends on the support of the public to care for animals injured in cruelty incidents, as well as those harmed by fishing gear wounds and other human-caused injuries. To make a donation, please click on the image to the right.
Update: Dr. Rebecca Duerr took this photo of Pink following the second operation, which lasted about three hours.