Man accused of killing pelican arrested in Malibu

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A man was arrested near the Malibu Pier Wednesday under the suspicion of choking and killing a pelican, according to authorities.

A witness flagged down a Sheriff’s deputy on patrol and alerted them of the incident, said Lieutenant Todd Webber of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station.

The suspect, identified as 30 year old Sergio Alvarez, was stopped and questioned near the pier. The arresting deputy said Alvarez’s comments during questioning lead them to believe he killed the pelican, said Lieutenant Webber. Alvarez was arrested on suspicion of felony animal cruelty. His bail has been set at $20,000.

If convicted, Alvarez faces up to $20,000 in fines and/or up to 3 years in state prison or up to 1 year in county jail, said the Sheriff’s Department.

Personnel from the California Wildlife Center recovered the dead pelican.

The California brown pelican is no longer listed as endangered, but remains as a fully-protected species in California, accordind to the California Department of Fish and Game.

Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department