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FW: Information Sought on Dead Endangered Brown Pelicans

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  • Demian Ebert
    Just received this from the USFWS listserver and thought it worth passing on: =================================================== Contact: Joan Jewett or Jenny
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 17, 2002
      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
      everybody's wildlife."

      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
      remain low.

      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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