SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – “We have pelicans all day. We have lots of emaciated pelicans everywhere
Santa Barbara County right now,” said Executive Director Ariana Katovich of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.
Large brown pelicans with a wingspan of between 6 and 7 feet are common residents along the coast.
But lately, the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network is receiving dozens of injured seabirds.
“On beaches…in parking lots…on the side of the road…everywhere,” Katovich said.
Most of the pelicans arrived badly injured, weak and unable to fly.
“They’re very skinny…they’re cold…so hypothermic…and very depressed about their ability to fly. A lot of people see them just lying down and unable to move…acting strangely and we get calls about them,” Katovich said .
The care network hopes to recruit volunteers to help
overwhelming number of injured pelicans.
“We’ve had over 50 pelicans in the last three days…so that’s a
a much larger number than we are used to… so with this influx, we really
need a lot more hands on deck,” said Lauren Gonzales, communications manager, Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.
At present, wildlife experts say the exact cause of their condition is unknown.
But they are happy to be able to use the new wildlife hospital to care for seabirds.
“It’s amazing to be at this facility right now, just the amount of
the space we have…our ability to control the temperature…these birds need
to be kept warm… so we keep the thermostats raised to 80 degrees, Katovich said.
All new patients receive a comprehensive intake exam upon arrival at the Wildlife Care Network.
“Anyone who sees a bird in distress can call our helpline. We also need
donations of crates and soft sided crates…this is a big event for our
community,” Katovich said.
The wildlife team needs all kinds of donations, including crates with soft padding inside, linens, and other related supplies.
The wildlife team is also looking to recruit more volunteers to help as more injured seabirds continue to be treated.
If you would like to help the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, you can call their helpline at: (805) 681-1080.
For more information on how to volunteer with the Wildlife Protection Network, log on to: https://www.sbwcn.org/