Someone is shooting and killing protected white pelicans in Illinois and Missouri

A total of 12 birds have been reported shot in a two week period.

NEWTON, Ill. (AP) — Conservation officers say five American White Pelicans were found shot dead in Newton Lake in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources said another pelican was injured but is recuperating. The birds are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Act and by state law. Conservation police are asking for the public’s help with any information about the case.

Newton Lake is in south-central Illinois, southeast of Effingham.

Conservation Police Officer Zach Roper says the birds were found Tuesday morning. He says officials don’t know why someone would shoot the pelicans because they have “no value to a hunter.”

The injured pelican was taken to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine for treatment.

The birds migrate in spring from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada with stops in central Illinois. Adults are about 4-feet tall with a 9-foot wingspan.

The shooting of the Illinois birds comes on the heels of the shooting death of seven other white pelicans killed in Marion County, Missouri, as reported by Quincy television station KHQA on March 20. In that incident, the dead birds were found in a drainage ditch on a highway not far from Hannibal, Missouri.