Two ducks recently found starving in Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley with their beaks cut off had to be euthanized because they could not eat on their own, authorities said.
Now law enforcement officials are investigating how the bizarre injuries occurred and who may have targeted the birds.
Both ducks had to be put down due to their severe injuries and inability to eat, said Debbie McGuire, executive director of the Huntington Beach Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center. Authorities are now asking for the public’s help in determining if anyone is responsible for the mutilation of wild animals.
“It’s just awful,” McGuire said.
The two birds were still alive when they were both brought to the centre, a non-profit group that helps treat injured wild animals. “I feel like it could have been purely malicious,” she said of their injuries.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is also investigating the incident and, while odd, the department is also considering the possibility that the injuries could have been caused in the wild, said Captain Bill Dailey, of the federal agency.
“They could have flown together, but we don’t even know that,” Dailey said. “We are investigating this, but there are no real leads on this.”
The first duck was taken to the center on July 31 by a member of the public, McGuire said. Two weeks later, someone alerted OC Animal Care to a second duck in the park with similar injuries.
Officials fear other animals were injured, but may have been captured by coyotes or other predators.
OC Animal Care, OC Park Rangers and California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have been contacted about the attacks. McGuire said agency law enforcement officials also received a video obtained by a resident that recorded two people who appeared to be injuring ducks. The ducks appeared to be in distress, McGuire said.
Dailey said investigators received the video but believed it may be related to another incident where someone may have plucked feathers from a duck. Investigators are exploring all possible leads, he said.
The incidents have nevertheless raised concerns about animal attacks in the large urban park, which attracts a variety of wildlife with its two fishing lakes and vast green spaces. On Thursday evening, McGuire said, she received a second video showing two pond turtles that appeared to have been decapitated in mid-July.
“It’s excruciating,” she said.
Officials are asking anyone with information about the attacks to call CalTip at 888-334-2258, or OC Animal Care at 714-935-6848.