Maryland man shares a video of him grabbing a brown pelican and sinking it underwater, sparks outrage
Hunter Hardesty uploaded a video of himself gleefully committing the crime on Facebook, much to the chagrin of netizens.
A Maryland man has come under fire after he uploaded a video that showed him jumping on and attacking a protected pelican species in Key West, Florida. Hunter Hardesty, of Davidsonville, Maryland, was filmed abusing a brown pelican, which is a protected species under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as well as Florida State Law, and could face jail time over the incident.
The attack came to light after Hardesty uploaded the distressing video on to his Facebook page. In the footage, which was posted on March 7 and which was reportedly was taken at the Key West Seaport, opens with Hardesty leaning out over the harbor's edge and holding something in his hand to entice the pelican.
When the pelican swims closer to the harbor off the camera, Hardesty jumps on top of it, resulting in both him and the pelican sinking underwater. He can then be seen grabbing the bird with both hands and lifting it slightly out of the water, and multiple voices can be heard cackling with laughter in the background.
As they continue to laugh, a woman's voice warns Hardesty and tells him, "Excuse me, if you don't get out of there right now, I'm going to call security. Knock this party off right now." While his attention is drawn away, the pelican manages to escape his grip a little and lashes out at his face, causing him to let go of the bird.
Hardesty's upload was not met well by netizens, who make it clear how they felt about the incident. "You stupid idiot, I wish that pelican would have plucked your eye out you POS," one wrote, while another similarly commented, "That pelican should have bit you harder you worthless piece of s***."
"The bird should have pecked his eye out," a third user posted, with another cheekily writing, "You like animal-related jokes? Cool - here's one: when you're behind bars, Bubba is gonna make you squeal like a pig."
It seems as though the harsh comments did little to deter Hardesty, who seemed to still be seeing the funny side of things. In a post he made this past week, he wrote, "The book blowin up on a Friday!! Sheesh," while another update made on Sunday, March 10, read, "I'm so hungry I could eat a pelican!!!"
The Daily Mail reported that the investigative department of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking into the incident. Officer Bobby Dube, a spokesman for the commission's Florida division, said they were working with the state's attorneys to determine if animal cruelty charges are to be brought against Hardesty.
This is not his first run-in with the law either. According to a report by the Capital Gazette, Hardesty was charged with robbery, second-degree assault, theft, destruction of property, and resisting arrest after he was involved in the beat-up and robbery of a man outside a Crofton, Maryland, bar in 2016.
Watch the video of Hardesty jumping on the pelican here: