Two pelicans have been shot with hunting arrows in the south-west Western Australian town of Mandurah in the past fortnight, prompting a call for information.
One bird was found on Monday last week with an arrow through its chest and was later euthanised and the other, found on Sunday, had been shot through both its wings.
WA Seabird Rescue volunteer Linda Emery described the attacks as “the ultimate act of cruelty” and said she could not believe anyone would hurt an innocent bird.
“Volunteer Craig Lefter found the first bird flying around with an arrow in its chest and it took a several hours to capture it,” she said.
“We received another call on Sunday from a fisherman who had spotted the other bird, which still had the arrow through its wings.
“This pelican had a big hole through one wing in particular and a shoulder injury but luckily the arrow didn’t hit any vital organs.”
Ms Emery said she believed the birds may have been shot on Sunday, May 19.
“I don’t understand why someone would inflict pain on such an iconic bird and then leaving it to die,” she said.
The Department of Environment and Conservation, the West Australian Police and the RSPCA are investigating the incidents.
Department wildlife officer Cameron Craigie said using animals for target practice or hunting was not only illegal but inhumane and cruel.
“The pelican shot on Sunday is extremely lucky to have survived as the arrow has not caused significant damage to any bones or vital organs," he said.
“The Mandurah Coastal Vet and Pet Care Centre and volunteers at WA Seabird Rescue have done a great job to helpwith the pelican’s recovery, and it is now being rehabilitated before being returned to the wild.”
Wild birds are protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1950 and there is a maximum penalty of $4000 for anyone found to have injured or kill a pelican.
The RSPCA is investigating the attacks in relation to animal cruelty offences, which can carry a maximum penalty of five years; imprisonment and a $50,000 fine.
Anyone with information about the attacks can contact DEC’s Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055, Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the RSPCA’s cruelty hotline 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589).