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Reward for capture of pelican mutilator soars to $20K

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[Update: This news article was updated on May, 2, 2014, to reflect the current reward amount of $20,000. When the article was first published, the reward amount was $10,000.]

Authorities and animal defenders in greater Los Angeles today have intensified their search of the person responsible for a heinous attack against an innocent brown pelican. The reward for the capture and conviction of the perpetrator that slashed the male bird's feeding pouch has now grown to $20,000, according to International Bird Rescue.

The severely injured and starving bird is currently recovering from major surgery to correct an intentional ear-to-ear gash that left it unable to feed for days. The dying pelican was discovered April 16 by a bystander on Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach. The aquatic bird is being cared for by veterinarians at the rescue organization's rehabilitation center in San Pedro.

The $20,000 reward is made possible by donations provided by the California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund and private contributors.

Officials are hoping that the reward will encourage the public to help identify the human who mutilated the pelican, affectionately named Pink due to the color of its identification band. If convicted, the attacker could face up to six months in a federal jail and fined a maximum of $15,000.

Those with any information can feel free to contact the Torrance branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service anonymously by phoning (310) 328-1516.

Follow Sharon at CBS Los Angeles.

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