FW: Information Sought on Dead Endangered Brown Pelicans
- Just received this from the USFWS listserver and thought it worth passing on:
Contact: Joan Jewett or Jenny Valdivia, 503-231-6121
Paul Chang, 877-657-6397
Information Sought on Dead Endangered Brown Pelicans
Birds with Mutilated Bills Found on Beach
NOTE: Photographs of the dead pelicans can be found at
http://pacific.fws.gov under "Newsroom/News Releases."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking help from the
public as it investigates the deaths of six endangered brown pelicans with
mutilated upper bills. The birds were found over the past two weeks on the
beach north of Pacific City, Oregon.
"We've seen this happen in Southern California: the upper bill will
be cut off or their pouch is slit open, and that causes starvation, which
is a slow and painful death," said Paul Chang, Assistant Special Agent in
Charge for the Service's Pacific region. "This is not just a violation of
the law ? it's pretty horrendous the suffering the pelicans go through.
It's no different than cutting off someone's lower jaw and expecting them
to feed themselves ? with no hands."
The birds are protected by the Endangered Species Act and the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A conviction under the Endangered Species Act
carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $100,000 fine for an
individual or $200,000 fine for a business for each violation.
The dead pelicans will be sent to the Service's Clarke R. Bavin
Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, where necropsies will be performed
to determine the cause of death, Chang said. Wildlife forensics
investigators also will search for clues that could lead to a solution of
the case, Chang said.
"We're asking people to report any information they may have about
these pelican deaths and to keep an eye out for suspicious activity around
pelicans at the beach," Chang said. "We all have a stake in this. This is
Anyone with information is asked to call 503-682-6131.
Brown pelicans were listed in 1970, under a Federal wildlife
protection law that pre-dated the Endangered Species Act. They are large,
dark gray-brown water birds with white around the head and neck. They can
weigh up to 8 pounds and larger individuals have wing spans of over 7 feet.
Their decline was due primarily to the effects of the pesticide DDT, which
caused thinning of their egg shells. Some populations of brown pelicans in
the eastern United States have rebounded but populations off the West Coast
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System which encompasses nearly 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of
small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70
national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological
services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws,
administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations,
restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife
habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their
conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that
distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and
hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
NOTE: This news release and others can be viewed on either the Service's
Pacific Regional home page on the Internet at http://www.r1.fws.gov or the
National home page at: http://www.fws.gov/r9extaff/renews.html
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