SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - "We have pelicans all day. We have a lot of emaciated pelicans throughout
the county of Santa Barbara right now," said executive director Ariana Katovich of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.
The large brown pelicans with a wingspan between 6 to 7 feet are common residents along the coast.
But lately, the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network is receiving dozens of injured seabirds.
"On the beaches ... in parking lots ... on the side of the road ... everywhere," said Katovich.
Most of the pelicans arrived severely injured, weak and unable to fly.
"They’re very skinny ... they're cold … so hypothermia ... and very depressed in terms of their ability to fly. A lot of people are just seeing them laying around and not able to move ... acting strangely and we’re getting calls about them," said Katovich.
The care network is hoping to recruit volunteers to help with the
overwhelming number of injured pelicans.
“We’ve had over 50 pelicans come in over the last three days … so that’s a
much bigger number than where are used to … so with that influx we really
need a lot more hands on deck," said communications manager Lauren Gonzales of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.
Right now wildlife experts say the exact cause of their condition is unknown.
But they're glad to be able to use the new wildlife hospital to treat the seabirds.
"It’s incredible to be in this facility right now just the sheer amount of
space we have … our ability to control the temperature … these birds need
to be kept warm … so we’re keeping the thermostats high at 80 degrees, said Katovich.
All new patients receive a full intake exam upon arriving at the wildlife care network.
"Anyone who sees a bird in distress they can call our helpline. We also need
donations of soft sided carriers and crates … this is a big event for our
community," said Katovich.
The wildlife team is in need of any kind of donations including crates with soft padding inside, sheets and other related supplies.
The wildlife team is also looking to recruit more volunteers willing to help as more injured seabirds continue being treated.
If you would like to help at the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, you can call their helpline at: (805) 681-1080.
For more information on becoming a volunteer at the wildlife care network, log onto: https://www.sbwcn.org/