More than 20 dead pelicans have washed ashore along the southeastern North Carolina coast in the past few weeks.
WHQR’s Michelle Bliss reports that for the state Wildlife Federation, the discovery has been a difficult reminder of the more than 200 dead birds that washed up between Onslow and Topsail Beaches last year.
The state group, along with PenderWatch and Conversancy, is offering a $5,700 reward for information that leads to an arrest or conviction.
Executive Director Tim Gestwicki says that he suspects the killings are calculated since all of the birds have similar wounds—deep cuts to their wings or wings that are completely shattered.
“That seems to mean that they’re being killed in the same manner, and if it does turn out to be, in fact, caused by being caught in large drift nets and then discarded along with the bycatch, that would be a simply intolerable situation.”
The brown pelican was taken off the endangered species list in 2009 after successful restoration efforts and the banning of DDT.
“A pelican is a harmless, defenseless species. It has no real predators other than man. They don’t cause any problems to anybody, they’re protected under the federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918, and it’s just a cruel happening,” Gestwicki says.
The NC Wildlife Federation also has rewards open for information on the shootings of red wolves in Hyde County and an elk in western North Carolina.
To report wildlife violations anonymously call 1-800-662-7137.
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