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Wildlife Resources Commission Investigates Dead, Injured Brown Pelicans

Brown pelican
Sergey Yeliseev via Flickr, Creative Commons

State wildlife officials are continuing to investigate the deaths and injuries of brown pelicans along the North Carolina coast.  They say more than 200 of the birds have been found. 

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is leading a coalition of agencies hoping to find out what is happening to the birds.  Sara Schweitzer is a biologist with the commission.  She says they need people who spend time out on the coast to report any irregularities.

"The one thing that we haven't been able to get is eyewitness sighting of an event that occurs," Schweitzer says.  "Most of these calls are coming in from the Topsail Beach area, so North Topsail, Surf City, down to South Topsail Beach.  Every now and then we'll get calls from Oak Island area."

Schweitzer says it's too early to definitively tell if people are hurting the birds. Because pelicans cross state boundaries, causing them harm is a federal violation under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Gurnal Scott joined North Carolina Public Radio in March 2012 after several stops in radio and television. After graduating from the College of Charleston in his South Carolina hometown, he began his career in radio there. He started as a sports reporter at News/Talk Radio WTMA and won five Sportscaster of the Year awards. In 1997, Gurnal moved on to television as general assignment reporter and weekend anchor for WCSC-TV in Charleston. He anchored the market's top-rated weekend newscasts until leaving Charleston for Memphis, TN in 2002. Gurnal worked at WPTY-TV for two years before returning to his roots in radio. He joined the staff of Memphis' NewsRadio 600 WREC in 2004 eventually rising to News Director. In 2006, Raleigh news radio station WPTF came calling and he became the station's chief correspondent. Gurnal’s reporting has been honored by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, the North Carolina Associated Press, and the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.
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