FWC investigates egrets shot with paintball guns in South Pasadena

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New photos appear to show multiple great egrets who were shot with paintball guns.

A resident in South Pasadena snapped photos just a few days ago and now the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating.

”It’s so cruel. These birds are so fragile. Their bones are hollow. A paintball shoots at a very high velocity. It can definitely injure them or kill them,” Steven Cook said.

He spotted one of the egrets a few days ago in his front yard on Pinellas Way South near Oleander Way South in South Pasadena. One of his photos appears to show a great egret splotched with blue paint.

”They come up here to the front yard. I got a couple that just climb up on the porch and stare at me through the window,” Cook said.

Cook says egrets are a common sight in his neighborhood. The FOX 13 News crew noticed one on his roof while we were there.

He first reported the problem to FWC last month. Since then, he hadn’t seen any more birds who looked like they were shot until a few days ago.

He worries the perpetrator from last month is back at it again.

“It just breaks our hearts. I have a lot of people on the NextDoor app who write to me and are very supportive. We’re just hoping to find out who it is and put a stop to it,” Cook said.

According to FWC, egrets are considered an imperiled species. Cook hopes the culprit or culprits are caught before this happens again.

”You’re really going to hurt these animals? And they have no one to speak up for them, except for us," Cook said.

Anyone who sees an egret that appears to have been shot by a paintball gun, FWC wants to hear from you. To report it, call their Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.