Conservationists plead for help after more than 30 pelicans mutilated in Calif.

Conservationists plead for help after more than 30 pelicans mutilated in Calif.
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Conservationists have issued a public plea for information after dozens of brown pelicans were found mutilated in California, with a wildlife care group saying the attacks were human-caused.

"It was just wrong on every level," Debbie Wayns, operations manager at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, Calif., told The New York Times. "There was no question that a person or persons did this."

More than 30 pelicans found clinging to life have been brought to the center since March. Of the dozens of surgeries performed, only 10 have been successful, the Times reported. The newspaper noted that each operation costs the center at least $5,000.

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Brown pelicans are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to the National Park Service, and local authorities are seeking information on who may be responsible for the attacks.

"We need your help to find whomever is performing this atrocious act," the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center said in a statement on its website.

Advocates point those with potential tips to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife tip line.

Hannah McDougall, communications coordinator for Pelican Harbor Seabird Station in Miami, told the Times an important way to protect pelicans and other wild species is to not feed them. The birds are motivated by food, leaving them vulnerable to humans.

Rescuers hope a witness will come forward following the attacks in California. Wayns noted such attacks would have likely been hard to miss since pelicans are large and loud birds.

"This isn’t something you can hide," Wayns said, citing the brutality of the act and extent of damage. "We need the public’s help to stop this. If you see something, say something."