SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — Pink, a California Brown Pelican found with a near-severed throat pouch caused by an unknown assailant, flew to freedom Tuesday after making a remarkable recovery.
Nicknamed for the color of the temporary leg band worn while in care at International Bird Rescue, the pelican was released at White Point Park in San Pedro after undergoing two surgeries.
IBR wildlife center manager Erika Lander said Pink would have died without intervention.
"With such a severe animal cruelty case, it's wonderful that we were able to help this animal and that animal control was able to capture the bird and bring it into us so we could help it," Lander said after conducting the pelican's final medical exam.
Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino opened the cage to free Pink, who joined other birds on a rock after his release.
Pink was found mutilated in the 5400 block of Ocean Boulevard near Bayshore Park in Long Beach on April 16.
A $7,500 reward has been offered to find the person responsible for slitting the pouch.
"Despite the vicious attack against this pelican, Pink brought out the best in wildlife lovers all over the country, who supported and rallied behind the bird's care and recovery," IBR executive director Jay Holcomb said upon announcing plans for the bird's release.
"Though we still don't know who committed this criminal act, we're thrilled to release a strong and healthy Pink, one of hundreds of pelicans we care for every year."
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