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Published September 16, 2011, 10:33 AM

Farmer accused of decimating protected pelicans

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man is charged with destroying hundreds of federally-protected white pelican chicks on land he farms near Mankato.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man is charged with destroying hundreds of federally-protected white pelican chicks on land he farms near Mankato.

Fifty-nine-year-old Craig Louis Staloch, of Minnesota Lake, is accused of smashing eggs or chicks in many of the nearly 1,500 nests in the American white pelican colony on land about 30 miles south of Mankato .

Federal prosecutors say a state wildlife specialist visited the land in May because the birds had nested there the previous year. The specialist found numerous nests and told Staloch not to disturb them because of their protected status. The specialist returned the next day and found most of the eggs in the nests had been smashed and countless chicks were dead.

Staloch did not return a phone call seeking comment.

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