ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - Startling to animal activists, but a joke to its creator; images posted to a St. Petersburg man’s Instagram account have sparked conversation, but also an investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The first picture shows a man sitting on the edge of a pool, pointing a rifle. Underneath it, there's a picture of the same man holding what appears to be a dead pelican over a shallow grave dug in the sand.
A question is posed between the images: "Fair penalty for going to the bathroom in the pool?"
The author, Danny Isla says it was a joke and that he found the pelican after it was already dead.
Those who work with sick and injured birds in the Bay Area are not amused.
"It is in bad taste, because a lot of people don't know the laws that protect our wildlife," said Kim Sauls Begay, a bird rescuer.
Begay says, if it really was a joke, it’s sending the wrong message.
"These birds are not game birds, there's never any hunting season on them. It's federally prohibited... by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, to shoot them or to harass them, or cause any harm to them," she explained.
While FWC says it is investigating, Isla has issued an apology on social media.
On social media he wrote, in part, “It was obviously a bad joke. I did not shoot the pelican. I found a dead bird and buried it. I combined it with an old picture of me shooting a pellet gun. I'm sorry.”