Children have been seen trying to hook and throw spears at pelicans around Albany, according to a local tour guide.
WA Seabird Rescue’s Carol Biddulph and Kalgan Queen Cruises’ Jonathon Jones are angered by what they say is an alarming increase in injuries to pelicans in the past four months.
They have called on people to watch out for those who deliberately harm the birds.
Mr Jones said the increase in pelican injuries was concerning.
“On average, for the past three years, if I saw six pelicans a year with a line, that would be the maximum,” he said.
“In the past four months, sometimes I’ve seen six in a day.”
Mr Jones said he had seen children try to deliberately hook pelicans and throw spears at them.
“They’re putting on a whole fish with a big hook, which is not going to be taken by any fish around here … I’ve also seen them throwing gidgies at pelicans,” he said.
“I would urge the public to be taking pictures with their mobile phones and writing down registration numbers, and passing on the information.”
Ms Biddulph, who is a registered wildlife rehabilitator, said some of the pelicans had to be euthanised because of their injuries.
“We’re seeing some with three hooks, two hooks, gouges in pouches and some entangled,” she said.
“We’ve had birds where their injuries have developed into gangrene and we’ve had to take them to the vet to be euthanised.
“It does seem there is an element of people who seem to be getting fun out of doing this on purpose.”
A Department of Environment and Conservation spokeswoman said people caught intentionally hooking pelicans could be prosecuted and faced a fine of up to $50,000 or five years’ jail.
She said people who found injured pelicans or witnessed cruelty to them should call the department’s Wildcare Helpline on 9474 firstname.lastname@example.org