MALIBU ( — A transient was arrested Wednesday evening after allegedly killing a pelican with his bare hands.

Sergio Alvarez, 30, is facing felony animal cruelty charges and is being held on $20,000 bail, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

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While on patrol around 5:50 p.m. Wednesday, a deputy was flagged down by a witness near the Malibu Pier in the 23000 block of Pacific Coast Highway, officials said.

The witness said Alvarez had a pelican by its throat and was choking with both hands.

“Witnesses told deputies the pelican flapped its wings in distress until its body went limp and died,” Lt. Robert Wiard said.

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Alvarez, who is known to frequent the Malibu Pier area, was arrested.

“He said he was hungry. And he found the bird dead and was going to eat it,” sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Holland.

Personnel from the California Wildlife Center took possession of the dead pelican.

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