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A site for pelicans?! ...uhhh, why pelicans?

(when there are so many other to-cry-for needs in the world....)
view of pond pelicans June Taylor

August, 2004

If one picture is worth a thousand words, then those two say it all. It's simple. The pelicans need help. They were born and raised wild, nurtured to be free-flying. At some point in their existential trajectories, they were hurt. Some injuries probably were human-caused, intentionally. Others, from fishing lines, for instance, were unintentional injuries, although in law negligence is sometimes difficult to distinguish from intention. Some injuries undoubtedly were accidental: dives too steep or hitting the water at wrong angles. Learning to fish is difficult. Many young pelicans do not survive.

But there's more. I have volunteered at the seabird pond of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network for more than five years. The pond is located in June Taylor's backyard in the Goleta foothills. I've never met anyone so dedicated, so caring as June. This site is my thank you and my effort to help her, to help the birds. What the pelicans require most for their needs is money. I hope through this site to raise awareness ... and money for their care.

But there's still more. These creatures (and all the others in the care of the Wildlife Care Network) were rescued in good faith. They have been cared for in similar good faith by volunteers, thanks to the generous, big-hearted donors who provide money for fish. Everyone loves or is fascinated by pelicans — actually, the image on the SBWCN brochure and on mailings is of an adult pelican, one very like the unreleasable Santa Barbara 12 individuals.

Recently, the Board of Directors of the SBWCN decided it could not afford to continue to support unreleasables — or at least not many of them. The SBWCN mission is solely or at least primarily rehabilitation. In the future, maybe, in the new facility there will be space for a "small education exhibit" with a few unreleasables. Will there be room at all for any of these pelicans pictured here? Who knows!

Like most non-profits, the SBWCN struggles for operating funds. Fish for pelicans is expensive. This puts the burden even more on these unfortunate birds. They can not go out and stir up their own support. They can't go like the owls and raptors of the fine Eyes in the Sky program of the Santa Barbara Audubon Society and be exhibited, calling attention to themselves, raising some of their own essential funds.

I feel there is a moral obligation for the SBWCN to help, to continue, that is, the care the organization and its volunteers have begun. On May 8 at the seabird pond, I made a presentation to this effect about these pelicans to the Board of Directors. I received no response (excepting a few negative comments) from the board members, good people all, undoubtedly, about the need for a sanctuary for the unreleasable pelicans.

Not having the money myself to donate, I contribute this web site.

I hope that the SBWCN will change its policy. Surely, there are generous people who can provide a permanent endowment. There are many unreleasable creatures in the care of volunteers at their homes. What will happen to these animals when something happens to the volunteers? Many of them, the volunteers, that is, are aging. Surely, there is a responsibility to continue the care the Network initiated — or find an alternative sanctuary where these birds can loaf and bond and be teaching attractions, too, to humans!Actually, there is a great need for a sanctuary in the California Central Coast area for injured but otherwise healthy wild animals.

These guys can be considered models, perhaps, a small portion of the variations within their species. They're lessons, too, in kindness and taking responsibility. Here they are, the 12 pelicans, as they were this (2004) summer at the pond. They look alike in their photographs, probably, but each has a unique personality and character and, I believe, a consciousness, a spirit, as do all other living creatures.

We've taken responsibility for their lives. I believe firmly we have an obligation to continue. PelicanLife.org is my effort and contribution. Thank you for your interest. I hope you can help.

Betsy Robertson Cramer


seabird pond scene


Made on a Mac

http://PelicanLife.org  © Betsy Robertson Cramer, 2004, all rights reserved; last updated: 5/7/05
Contact: info@pelicanlife.org