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Transient allegedly killed pelican because 'he was hungry'

California brown pelicans fly over the Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Sheriff's deputies said a 30-year-old transient arrested on suspicion of choking a pelican to death told them  "he was hungry."

Witnesses flagged down an L.A. County sheriff's deputy about 5:50 p.m. Wednesday near the Malibu Pier saying that a man -- later identified as Sergio Alvarez -- had a pelican by its throat, authorities said.

“He said he was hungry. [He said] he found the bird dead and was going to eat it,” sheriff's Sgt. Michael Holland, a watch commander at the Malibu/Lost Hills station, told City News Service.

The witnesses said the pelican seemed to be flapping in distress until it went limp, deputies said.

The California Wildlife Center took the body of the dead pelican. Alvarez was arrested on suspicion of felony animal cruelty and was being held on $20,000 bail.

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-- Melissa Leu

Follow Melissa Leu on Twitter and Google+.

Photo: California brown pelicans fly over the Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Rancho Palos Verdes. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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