Animals

Happy ending for pelican who received life-saving treatment after suffering head trauma in collision with ship off South Coast

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An injured pelican was rescued after it crashed into the side of a ship about ten miles off the coast of Oxnard.

This pelican, suffering from head trauma and unable to fly, was taken to the Santa Barbara Wildlife Welfare Network for life-saving treatment.

The pelicans spent the first few days in intensive care where staff closely monitored his condition and provided intravenous and oral fluids, medication and food.

After settling in, she was strong enough to join the largest number of patients in the SBWCN’s Seabird Basin, where she could have more space to fly and swim.

After spending 46 days in rehabilitation, Alison Jacoa of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network — who has been supervising the pelican’s recovery — told KCLU that the bird had been successfully released back into the wild.

“It’s very rare and it’s been very rare for you to be able to tell what really happened, so we can start the care you need right away,” Jagua told KCLU.

“We have complete confidence in the release we have seen,” Jacoa said. “He’s gained a good height, and just flew. That’s a success story right there.”

Usually, the rescue crew does not name the wild animals they help, but, as Jacoa said, they were so fond of this pelican that they named it Noah!

Brown pelicans are large seabirds that range between 8-10 pounds and have a wingspan of 6.5-7.5 feet.

They are a common inhabitant of the southern coasts of the United States, with ranges extending into South America.

They are famous for diving into the ocean to hunt for their food – one of only two species of pelicans to do so.

These social birds can be found congregating in large flocks almost all year round.

The population reached dangerously low numbers in the 1960s due to contamination from the pesticide DDT, and the species was listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1972.

Thanks to DDT regulations and conservation efforts, the brown pelican has since been removed from the endangered species list.

The SBWCN Helpline is available every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for animal emergencies and wildlife advice: (805) 681-1080.

Donations can be made to support this work at www.sbwcn.org/donate.

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