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The following are personal descriptions/reflections on a situation that existed 6 years ago. According to the SBWCN, the satellites no longer hold unreleasables....

Twelve adult California Brown Pelicans were “patients” at the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN) for several years, some of them, even longer. They were brought for care and stayed, unable to be free. Permanent homes were sought for them at zoos. Unfortunately, they did not survive.

Most had wing injuries, apparently caused intentionally by cruel humans, and one was blind in one eye. Except for those physical injuries they were healthy creatures, teachers of survival and gentleness. Like all big birds, they had healthy appetites, making it difficult for the SBWCN.

Each pelican has a personality and some of these formed pair bonds. They were not pets, not bonded with people; but they were rescued, brought to and supported by the SBWCN and served, too, to educate both human volunteers and other pelicans arriving with injuries, frightened. (The SBWCN wants it known that it is not an educational facility — and it is not, but one pelican does educate another ... and human volunteers.)

I, at this website, urge that there is a moral obligation to save these innocent creatures, rescued, healthy, able to live but not to be free — and — that there is an urgent need for a sanctuary for unreleasable wild creatures.

The SBWCN is the only pelican (and other seabird) rehabilitation facility on Santa Barbara County's South Coast. The seabird pond is located in Goleta, presently at the home of a generous volunteer, June Taylor.

June Taylor and pelican

She receives pelicans with fish hook injuries, oiled feathers — the Santa Barbara channel is a major route for oil tankers. With careful, skilled washing and care, the birds often recover— if they have not ingested oil. Fish hook and monofilament line injuries often can be repaired. Injuries from human cruelty usually result in euthanasia to prevent further suffering.

But there is no sanctuary. And these 12 are no more because of a lack of a proper sanctuary, not a zoo, but a place where they could have lived out their lives with some freedom to wander and loaf, as was so here.


 

In the spring, young pelicans, not yet proficient at fishing, arrive suffering from malnutrition. Recently, the last couple of years, there have been cases of domoic acid poisoning. The effects on sea mammals, sea lions and seals, are disastrous and on the pelicans, too. Young pelicans are especially at risk. If the bird is found soon enough and rehydrated, the toxin can be flushed out.

juvenile pelican face

The SBWCN is expanding into its new property at 1460 N. Fairview Avenue, Goleta. It will be a large facility for rehabilitating all wildlife. Sadly, I at this web site say, the Board of Directors has decided there will be only limited sanctuary — if any at — for pelicans and the other lovingly rescued but unreleasable creatures. The cost of keeping pelicans in fish is high. To support a pelican costs more than $100 per month for their diet of anchovies, sardines or, as the SBWCN feeds, smelts and capelins, depending on what's available.

smelts

The primary purpose of pelicanlife.org was to raise money for these pelicans’ food. We welcomed all fish-funding and care suggestions and I believe that indeed donations were made to the SBWCN on the basis of seeing these handsome creatures. Now that they are dead, pelicanlife.org will remain for a while longer as a source of pelican information, perhaps developing in other directions.

On the next pages are the pictures of the 12, with brief descriptions of each. These are my (BRC) personal thoughts and feelings, not those of the management of the SBWCN.

 

Please see the Updates page for additional Santa Barbara pelican information. Please click to the contact page for how you can help Santa Barbara wildlife.

Click here for the stories of the Santa Barbara 12

 

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http://pelicanlife.org  © Betsy Robertson Cramer, 2004, all rights reserved.
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