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UPDATE: Pelican deaths not malicious


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Wildlife Resources Commission sent pelicans found on Topsail Beach to the University of Georgia for autopsies to determine their cause of death. Sara Schweitzer from the commission said although the results are not confirmed, early findings show the birds were not killed maliciously by people.

"We're trying to answer some of the questions people have as the injuries that were seen to the birds," Schweitzer said. "We have not been able to detect any evidence of shots, of bullets, and also there is some concern about breaking of bones, so we asked them to look at that closely, and they haven't been able to detect bone fragments which would be evident if someone had been hitting the birds."

Schweitzer said there are several explanations for the decimated pelicans. They may appear to look like they were killed intentionally, however, other sea creatures could have caused the damage after the pelican died. She hopes birds that were found that died in captivity may be tested so that they may rule out the damage done by scavenging animals.

Schweitzer said she hopes the continuing investigation, which will resume early next week, will provide more information.

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