A reward for information about the suspected maiming deaths of 14 pelicans found mostly at Cabrillo Beach has grown to $15,500, bird rescue experts announced Tuesday.
A 75-year-old San Pedro woman contributed $4,000 to the reward fund managed by the International Bird Rescue Research Center, whose San Pedro facility is where the injured pelicans have been taken.
She was distressed at news that the California brown pelicans, an endangered species protected by federal law, might have been purposefully harmed, center officials said. She also donated $7,000 to the nonprofit center to support its other efforts.
The first pelican was found Dec. 22. Nine of the birds appeared to have been shot in the same area of the neck. The others had the largest bone in their expansive wings snapped like a pencil, all in the same spot, said Bruce Toloski, a special agent handling the investigation for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Some birds were found alive. However, they were put to death by authorities because of the severity of the injuries, center spokeswoman Karen Benzel said.
Toloski said Tuesday the large wing bone cannot easily be snapped, leading to suspicion of animal cruelty.