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Mutilated pelican may be released in coming weeks, activists say

Mutilated pelican may be released in coming weeks, activists say
A California brown pelican, seen Thursday, continues to recover from a mutilation incident that left it with a slashed pouch last month. International Bird Rescue says the pelican shouldn't require further surgery and could be released in the coming weeks. (Rebecca Duerr / International Bird Rescue)

A bird rescue organization caring for a brown pelican whose pouch was mutilated last month said the bird could be released in coming weeks following two successful surgeries.

The California brown pelican, nicknamed Pink, will not require any more surgeries, said officials with International Bird Rescue, which is caring for the pelican at its San Pedro center.

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"Barring complications," said veterinarian Rebecca Duerr in a news release, "I'd like the bird to stay happily eating in the aviary for a little while longer in order for the newly repaired skin to mature and strengthen before it has to hit the ocean at high speed in a plunge dive. So far, so good."

Pink required hundreds of staples in order to start reconnecting the ear-to-ear gash across its pouch that left it unable to feed for days. A bystander found the bird April 16 flopping on Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach before a city animal control officer rescued it.

Rescue organizations and the public helped raise a $20,000 reward to find the person who mutilated the pelican.

The organization also previously announced that the Port of Long Beach had donated $5,000 toward the bird's surgical and rehab needs.

Anyone with information can report anonymously to U.S. Fish and Wildlife, which is overseeing the investigation, at (310) 328-1516.

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