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Pelican death after parade under federal investigation

A pelican roosts on a post in the fog at Kremer Landing on Friday in Gulfport. Federal authorities are investigating the death of a pelican on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, after the Pass Christian parade.
A pelican roosts on a post in the fog at Kremer Landing on Friday in Gulfport. Federal authorities are investigating the death of a pelican on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, after the Pass Christian parade. SUN HERALD FILE

The death of a juvenile pelican after Sunday's St. Paul's Carnival Association parade in Pass Christian is under investigation by state and federal agencies.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks are investigating the death to determine if parade attendees played a part in its death.

According to a viral post on Facebook, a group of float riders were throwing Mardi Gras beads at the pelican until it became visibly distressed and walked into traffic where it was struck by a vehicle and killed.

Missy Dubuisson of Wild at Heart Rescue in Vancleave was notified about the bird's death.

"People feed pelicans, so they think that anything that is thrown to them is food," she said. "This is an example of someone being especially cruel to an animal. The body of the pelican has been recovered and it a necropsy will be conducted."

Pelicans are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Pass Christian Police Chief Tim Hendricks said he had heard about the pelican and he was told it was being investigated.

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