The brown pelican was removed from the federal endangered species list only about five years ago, so after a bird was found seriously injured with a gunshot wound in Redondo Beach, rescuers decided the shooter needed to be caught.
A group is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who shot the adult male pelican, which was left seriously injured.
"As a species only recently removed from the endangered species list in 2009, brown pelicans have enough challenges in their lives without being shot," the organization, International Bird Rescue, said.
The bird is recovering, but its survival was in doubt after it was found by Redondo Beach Animal Control on March 12. It's unclear exactly when the shooting took place. The pelican is at least the second to be severely injured in Los Angeles County by an apparently intentional attack in a year.
The bird was taken to the rescue organization's wildlife center in Los Angeles, where workers found it had a broken wing and a fishhook embedded in its right shoulder.
It wasn't until rescue workers performed an X-ray that they discovered the bird's gunshot wound. Images showed "tiny speckles of metal" in the bird's wing, according to the rescue organization. The wound was contaminated with debris and dead tissue, and small pieces of bone were falling out.
Veterinarian Rebecca Duerr repaired the bird's wing during an operation last week. The surgery went well, but the risk an infection is substantial, rescue workers said.
Brown pelicans are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Last April, a reward that eventually climbed to $20,000 was offered by International Bird Rescue to anyone involved in the attack of a brown pelican in Long Beach that left it mutilated and unable to feed for days because of a slashed pouch
Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (310) 328-1516.