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Wildlife Officials Wonder What’s Killing Pelicans In St. Pete

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Officials are trying to figure out why pelicans are dying in St. Petersburg.

The dead birds have been turning up since last Wednesday and the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary is caring for another 14 pelicans that are alive but lethargic and paralyzed.

Clearwater Audubon Society spokeswoman Barbara Walker tells the Tampa Bay Times no one has an official count because several animal rehab facilities are treating the sick birds.

Meantime, the city's public works department and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are teaming up to solve the mystery. In a news release, city officials say they've tested the water and are pursuing more extensive testing. Wildlife officials are also conducting necropsies.

Some wonder if the bird kill is connected to an ongoing red tide algae bloom.