Maya Totman holds up a pelican with a gruesomely severed throat by an unknown assailant that she saved with the help of veterinarian Dr. Don Harris.

Maya Totman focused the national spotlight on the plight of dozens of brown pelicans that had their throats slit recently in the Florida Keys.

“I cannot believe how anybody can do this to an animal,” said Maya Totman of Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue. “The throats were actually cut with several slashes, to make large holes the fish come out of.”

The Monroe County Sherriff Office and Totman believe this is not a naturally occurring injury, rather a person or people are responsible for the brutality. Totman’s attention was drawn to the situation by an alert fisherman.

“A fisherman was cast-netting the ballyhoo and realized the fish were going right out of the bird’s neck. He knew something was wrong with the animal and he then threw the cast-net over the pelican and contacted me,” she said.

In the last month, Totman was able to save six pelicans with the help of veterinarian Dr. Don Harris and she knows of nine others that died, some from starvation.

Totman said the investigation is ongoing and she hopes for resolution soon. In the meantime, volunteers are needed to help care for the birds and donations are always welcome. To volunteer, call 305- 872-1982 or mail donations to Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue, P.O. box 431392, Big Pine Key, FL 33043.

 

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