BIG PINE KEY (CBSMiami) –Several brown pelicans that had their pouches slashed were released back into the wild after surgery.

While, two pelicans are still recovering, six were able to be released according to Maya Totman, the director of Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue.

A boat captain made the gruesome discovery in the Keys in December.

Totman said seven pelicans had their pouches cut rendering them unable to eat.  One of the injured pelicans died.

It is not clear how the birds’ pouches were slashed, but it is believed that the harm was done intentionally.

A pelican without its pouch would eventually starve to death.