Two More Brown Pelicans Hospitalized With Cut Pouches

Two more brown pelicans that have been found with cut pouches in the Florida Keys have been taken to a Miami animal hospital Monday.

The pelicans, which were found over the weekend near Summerland Key, will be examined and undergo surgery if they're strong enough, said veterinarian Don Harris, director of the Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center.

"I just hope we got these early enough to facilitate their survival," Harris said Monday.

About a dozen pelicans have been spotted with their pouches slashed in the past few weeks in the area between Cudjoe Keys and Summerland Key, Harris said.

Four of the pelicans were dead when they were found. Harris performed surgery on another that was brought to him by Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue President Maya Totman, but it later died.

Another four have been spotted with cuts on their pouches but have proved too strong to catch, Harris said.

"I've been here 30 years and I've seen a lot of injuries and I've never seen anything like this," Harris said. "It's a big deal and it's gotta be malicious."

Totman said she's reported the incidents to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and both agencies are investigating.

"It's kind of a sick thing, I can't imagine it's more that one person with this state of mind," Harris said.

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