Pink, the California brown pelican with the slashed pouch that was found in Long Beach last April, will be released tomorrow, June 3rd. Pink was taken to the International Bird Rescue Facility in San Pedro where she had surgery to repair the laceration by a knife. Though a reward of $20,000 has been offered to find the culprit in this case, no suspects have been found.
International Bird Rescue normally doesn't name its patients, but Pink, named after her pink leg band she wore during captivity, seemed to need one. At first, the bird’s pouch was temporarily stapled until she was strong enough for surgery to make a permanent repair. Pink has healed quickly with a scar being scarcely visible. Without the surgery, Pink would not have been able to feed herself as pelicans depend on their pouch to eat.
Some fishermen mistakenly consider California brown pelicans to be competitors for fish, but they mostly feed on non-game fish such as anchovies and sardines. These fish are used as bait fish for sport fishermen. With a lack of suspects in her case, it is unknown if this was the motivation for the attack. If you have information, you are encouraged to contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife at 310-238-1416.
Pink will be released not far from where she was found at White Point Park in San Pedro at Kay Florentino Drive at about 12:30 p.m. Since this area is only about 150 miles from San Diego, it is possible that Pink may make her way down to San Diego in the near future. International Bird Rescue often bands their released pelicans with large blue leg bands, though it is unknown if Pink will have a band or what number she will have. They encourage people to report blue-banded pelicans on their website, www.bird-rescue.org. IBR rescues and rehabs hundreds of migratory birds each year, including pelicans, one of two birds represented in their logo. They appreciate any donations made for their care.
Update: Pink does have a blue leg band with the number "V-70".