SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — The reward for information leading to the arrest of the person, or persons, who mutilated a California brown pelican continues to grow.
Someone cut the pelican's jaw pouch which left it incapable of eating, authorities said.
On Tuesday, a reward of $2,500 was being offered to help find the guilty party.
By Wednesday, the Animal Legal Defense Fund later doubled the reward to $5,000, then increased it $7,500, thanks to the ALDF and private donors,according to Andrew Harmon, communications director for the International Bird Rescue.
Also on Wednesday, officials said given the scope of the wound, it could take months for the bird to recover fully.
The pelican was found mutilated in the 5400 block of Ocean Boulevard near Bayshore Park in Long Beach on April 16.
"It's always very heart wrenching to see these types of injuries," said Julie Skoglund, operations manager at the International Bird Rescue, "I mean, something this severe where we believe it was intentionally caused and to see an animal come in like this that is basically going to starve to death without human intervention."
The slit has been stapled shut to enable the bird to feed itself. The first of two to three surgeries needed to stitch the pouch up is scheduled to take place on Sunday, according to International Bird Rescue.
The surgeries are scheduled to take place over several days, with the first one expected to take 10-15 hours, Skoglund said.
"Pouch surgeries typically can last a very long time, especially one this involved," Skoglund said.
Anyone with information on who may have harmed the pelican was asked to call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (310) 328-1516.
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