Press Release

Reward Increased to $25,000 Following Reports of Additional Dead Pelicans

Public reports two additional pelicans, total of 34 victims


ORANGE COUNTY, Ca. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, is offering an additional $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for attacking and mutilating dozens of brown pelicans on the coast of Orange County, California, as two more dead birds have been reported since the initial reward was announced. The reward now totals $25,500.  

Along the California coastline stretching from San Clemente to Huntington Beach, 34 brown pelicans have been found with broken wings since October 2020. Recently, a pelican was discovered with a twisted wing and bones protruding. Most pelicans did not survive, and those who did needed emergency surgery and long-term care. Officials believe the injuries were inflicted purposefully. The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center is providing rehabilitative care to the pelicans and is working closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on investigating this matter.  

A veterinarian from a local wildlife hospital in the region suspects that a person may be responsible for harming the pelicans due to the consistent types of fractures that have been found on the animals.  

“This infusion of funds added to our initial reward reflects the severity of harm to the pelicans found mutilated in Orange County and mounting pressure to find answers,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We are hopeful that the local community will come forward with information in order to prevent further harm to these animals” 

In California, the maximum penalty for maliciously and intentionally maiming or mutilating a living animal is a fine of up to $20,000 or up to three years imprisonment, or both.  

If you have information related to the attacks of these pelicans, please contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at 1-888-334-2258 (1-888-334-CalTIP). All tips will remain anonymous.

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