Seagulls Found on Oregon Coast Shot with Darts
(Waldport, Oregon) – Someone is hurting seagulls on the central Oregon coast and there are apparently no leads. Authorities from at least two different agencies are anxious to put a stop to it, however.
The exact number of incidents is unclear. They go back at least six months, however, and each time involve reports of a seagull with a dart stuck in its head.
Nick Leonetti, a wildlife expert with the Newport office of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said the birds have been seen in Waldport, with most along the bayfront of Alsea Bay and its marinas.
“We are not sure how many birds have been injured or killed,” Leonetti said.
Sightings of this unusual cruelty started as long as six months ago and then disappeared for a while. Leonetti said ODFW has only recently become aware of it as the sightings started again this month.
This could wind up a federal crime for whoever is involved.
“State police and USFWS (US Fish and Wildlife Service) law enforcement are also aware - unfortunately they have no leads,” Leonetti said.
There are very few USFWS officers in the area, which leaves much of the problem dumped in the laps of local authorities and ODFW.
ODFW is urging anyone finding such an injured seagull to report it. You can call ODFW at 800-720-ODFW or Oregon State Police's Newport office at 541-265-5354.
Oregon Coast Aquarium has some rehabilitation capabilities, and ODFW might be able to help.
“For now there have been none that could be caught to remove the darts, and if one is discovered alive but immobile, they should contact the Oregon Coast Aquarium for rehab possibilities,” Leonetti said. “We could potentially transport immobile birds but we are not actively pursuing or capturing them.”
What happens to these injured creatures? That varies.
“It really just depends on the location in which the dart hits and if infection sets in,” Leonetti said. “The ones that have been reported so far seem to be able to feed and fly normally, so they could potentially survive.”
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