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Kayak Amelia owner heartbroken over recent string of injured pelicans

Ray Hetchka has owned Kayak Amelia for 27 years and views surrounding wildlife as his neighbor.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Surrounded by water and wildlife, Ray Hetchka doesn't have your everyday neighbors.

Yet, he cares for wildlife as he would humans, which is why he's so heartbroken by the recent string of injured pelicans.

"I always look at kids and critters as the innocents they have no way to advocate for them they have no way to protect themselves," Hetchka said.

Bird Emergency Aid and Kare Sanctuary (B.E.A.K.S) co-founder, Cindy Mosling, says she has received two more injured pelicans this week.

It brings the total to 10 injured pelicans in the last two weeks. Mosling believes the birds have been deliberately hurt based on their injuries and says they will never fly again due to their injuries.

Like Mosling, Hetchka has been a mainstay on Big Talbot Island for close to 30 years and is disturbed by the recent string of injured pelicans. Hetchka has been taking injured birds to Mosling for years, but she plans to close her doors and retire soon.

"It worries me they've earned their time to take it easy so I don't begrudge them at all they've been wonderful but yea it will make a difference," Hetchka said. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is still investigating the recent trend of injured pelicans. 

If you encounter an injured bird you can report it to FWC by calling 888-404-3922.

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