WILDLIFE officers believe pelicans are being used as target practice, after two birds were found shot with arrows in separate incidents in Western Australia.
WA's Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) is appealing for information from the public following the shocking attacks on the pelicans over the past week near Mandurah.
Last Monday, an adult pelican was found at Soldiers Cove, near the Mandurah estuary bridge, with a target arrow through its chest.
A volunteer retrieved the bird, which had to be put down because of severe internal injuries.
Less than a week later, an adult pelican was shot through both wings with a hunting arrow at nearby Samphire Cove. Another volunteer retrieved this bird, which is being rehabilitated.
DEC wildlife officer Cameron Craigie said the attacks were being investigated by DEC, WA Police and RSPCA.
"Using animals like pelicans for target practice or hunting is something that is not only illegal, it is inhumane and cruel," Mr Craigie said.
"The pelican shot on Sunday is extremely lucky to have survived as the arrow has not caused significant damage to any bones or vital organs."
A maximum penalty of $4,000 applies for injuring or killing pelicans in WA.
Anyone with information about the attacks can contact DEC's Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.