Photographer documenting pelican deaths rejects LDWF's natural causes conclusion

The New Orleans nature photographer who reported the suspicious deaths and injuries of multiple pelicans in Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes isn’t buying the state’s explanation that the deaths were natural.

Julie Butera, who reported a dead pelican found dangling from a water gauge in plain sight of LA 39 in Braithwaite Feb. 18, has been speaking to residents along waterways in both parishes, gathering accounts of fishermen mistreating pelicans. So when the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries announced Feb. 21 that the deaths had been investigated and determined to have resulted from “natural and accidental cuases,” Butera was immediately skeptical.

“I’m definitely pursuing this. We have a lot of leads about people out here abusing pelicans. I will definitely keep an ear to the ground until I find out who is doing this,” Butera said Feb. 22.

LDWF agents were dispatched to Braithwaite and the Hopedale community of St. Bernard last week to collect the dead pelicans, which were then taken to Baton Rouge for necropsies.

 

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