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Twelve rescued pelicans released back into nature

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – About two months ago, the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network was experiencing a pelican pandemic, with over 200 brown pelicans falling ill across the central coast. After rescuing and treatment, 12 of the pelicans were released back into the wild on Friday.

"Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network saw huge influx of pelicans in May, we had over 260 come to our center and we're finally seeing them released after weeks of rehabilitation," said Arianna Katovich, executive director of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network. "They have definitely stabilized in care with lots of fish and hydration and they're flying and they're ready to go."

Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN) staff released the birds at Butterfly Beach in Montecito on Friday afternoon, and 10 birds were released last weekend.

There are still about 50 sick pelicans still in care at the SBWCN facility, but officials said that they seem to be responding well to their treatment and are hopeful that they will be able to release more of the birds soon.

The facility is still taking pelicans in "here and there," but staff said it was not nearly as many pelican patients as before.

Officials said that they believe the worst of the pelican pandemic is over, but they are still unsure what was causing the illness.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue is the Assignment Editor and web journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Jade, click here

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