Pelicans found mutilated in Mayport

Florida Fish and Wildlife investigate bird deaths

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A grisly sight along the shoreline in Mayport Tuesday night is raising concerns that an animal killer could be on the loose.

Neighbors told Channel 4 Tuesday that there's been dozens of pelicans and seagulls turning up dead in the Mayport area recently.

"Almost every single day you can come down here and find a new one that's been decapitated," said local photographer Stacey Best.

Best told Channel 4 she started seeing the dead birds in January and since then she's seen dozens of the birds mutilated along the shoreline where families usually gather.

"I think there's somebody out there who is intentionally hurting these animals," said Best.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials told Channel 4 they are aware of the problem but they still don't have a solution. Officials said they are continuing to investigate the cause of the gruesome animal deaths.

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"It's scary for some of these children and it makes them upset. They don't understand. 'Mommy, why is dead birds laying around?' You know?" said Best.

All pelicans are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which subjects anyone caught hurting the birds to fines and possibly jail time if they are found guilty.

Channel 4 will continue to follow this story and bring you more updates as Florida Fish and Wildlife investigates the pelican deaths.

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