Birds are target of ‘inhumane’ abuse

More than a decade of working to help injured animals in Monroe County didn’t prepare Maya Totman, director of Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue, for what she saw on a Monday call to the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge.

Totman arrived to find a herring gull and brown pelican weak and struggling, with deliberately cut and shaped aluminum cans of Busch Light beer shoved over their beaks and heads, then wrapped tightly around the birds’ necks like tight collars.

The previous day, Totman and some fellow volunteers responded to the same location to treat an adult male osprey that had been shot with two BBs from an air-powered gun.

“I have seen so many different injuries in different type[s] of wildlife but nothing like this,” Totman said.
“This is shocking,” she said. “It was done intentional. I’m sick about it. This is something outrageous. Whoever did this, they need some help — completely inhumane. The poor birds were choking.”

The gull was found at a campsite and the pelican nearby next to a fish-cleaning table. Fishing Lodge guest Greg Vogel cut the cans off both birds’ necks with his Swiss Army knife.

The gull’s head was forced through the can, but Vogel said the other can was modified to fit over the pelican’s larger head.

“Somebody must have thought about this for awhile,” Vogel said. “The can had a little bent clip so it could be wrapped around the pelican’s neck.”

But now, after a steady diet of nutrient-laden pureed grouper mixed with filtered water, the gull is set for release back into the wild as early as Friday, Totman said.

The pelican is also suffering from avian botulism but is on the mend thanks to a feeding tube. The osprey is doing better but Totman is searching for its nest, as this is the season for babies.

“Whoever did this is sick,” she said, speculating that the act was likely committed by more than one person, as it would take one person to hold a flailing bird and another to force the modified beer can over its head.
Totman reported the incident to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, but barring a witness coming forward, there’s not a lot that can be done.

Keys-based Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Bobby Dube said the appropriate criminal charge in this case would be animal cruelty, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a $5,000 fine.

Although this is a particularly egregious instance of animal cruelty, unfortunately it’s not a first for the Keys.

In August 2011, a 125-pound protected juvenile loggerhead sea turtle was found off Big Pine Key with an aluminum spear, fired from a high-powered spear gun, protruding from her head.

Three months before that, a butchered sea turtle was found in a Big Pine canal and a similar incident was reported in 2008 off Sombrero Beach Road in Marathon.

Anyone who has information about who abused the birds can call Totman at 872-1982 or the FWC in Marathon at 289-2320.

This entry was posted in Florida Keys Fishing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Recent Posts

  • Contact Us



  • Facebook page for the War Bird Sportfishing Charter Boat Twitter Account for Captain Dana Banks - Key Largo Fishing Guide and Charter Boat Captain of the War Bird RSS Feed for Posts from Captain Dana Banks - Key Largo Fishing Charters - the War Bird
    Google Plus

    To Book a Deep Sea
    Fishing Charter
    (305) 394-7420

    Florida Keys Fishing in Key Largo


  • To Book The War Bird
    (305) 394-7420


    KEY LARGO
    DEEP SEA FISHING
    • Sailfish
    • Dolphin - Mahi Mahi
    • Wahoo
    • King Mackerel
    • Tuna - Black Fin Tuna
    • Marlin
    KEYS REEF &
    WRECK FISHING

    • Yellowtail Snapper
    • Mutton Snapper
    • Cubera Snapper
    • Mangrove Snapper
    • Grouper
    • Kingfish - King Mackerel
    • Spanish and Cero Mackerel
    • Hogfish
    • Amberjack
    • Cobia
    • Baracuda

  • The Fish House
    Key Largo's Finest Seafood Restaurant
    102401 Overseas Hwy
    Key Largo, FL 33037
    305-451-4665

    Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Dinner: 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
    No Reservations, just come on in!


  • Pages

  • Meta


  • Offshore Sportfishing in the Florida Keys

  • Tags


  • Facebook page for the War Bird Sportfishing Charter Boat Twitter Account for Captain Dana Banks - Key Largo Fishing Guide and Charter Boat Captain of the War Bird RSS Feed for Posts from Captain Dana Banks - Key Largo Fishing Charters - the War Bird

    To Book a Deep Sea
    Fishing Charter
    (305) 394-7420