Mystery Surrounds Pelican Illness On West Coast

Male pelican  © IBRRC

"One pelican was found in New Mexico, wandering in the snow at an elevation of 7,000 feet", reports NPR.

Many of you may have already heard stories from the West coast concerning a large number of endangered pelicans being rescued and admitted to local rehabilitation centers in California. Sick, disoriented pelicans have been found in unusual places, with unusual aliments, not consistent with what has previously been observed in rescued pelicans. Approximately 400 pelicans are believed to have been affected and the number is growing.

Last week the NY Times featured an article, In Pelican Mystery, Weather is Suspect, and the latest continues to penetrate through media. Scientists, environmentalist, fisherman and the wildlife service are all wondering what is happening and is there someone to blame. Unlikely. It seems that mother nature and a massive storm that swamped the Northwest weeks ago may be the mystery behind these ill birds, many of whom are severely frostbitten.

IFAW's international partner in worldwide oil spill response, IBRRC (International Bird Rescue Research Center) has recorded 265 reports of dead or ailing pelicans. More than 100 pelicans are being nursed back to health at the center's two facilities in Fairfield and San Pedro, California with a combination of intravenous fluids, medications and a specialized diet.

For the latest updates on the situation visit the IBRRC blog. They are right in the middle of this and are working around the clock to help these birds.

Comments: 1

9 years ago

Does anyone have an update on this? Was it frostbite after all?
Fred Smilek is the acting president of the Society to Save Endangered Species. It was founded two years ago by Fred Smilek along with his two best friends Charles and Jonathan.

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