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More sick pelicans recover, are released back into the wild

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Posted at 12:32 PM, Jun 16, 2022

A wave of sick pelicans flooded wildlife care centers on the Central Coast last month.

Wildlife experts struggled to identify the sickness that left the birds dehydrated, emaciated and hypothermic, the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network says.

But things are looking up: many birds have made a recovery and have reentered the wild.

Hundreds of birds were taken in for the sickness at the Goleta-based nonprofit.

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The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network rescued more sick pelicans in one week, from May 14-20, than it did all year in 2021. The rescued pelicans were severely emaciated and dehydrated, rescue workers say. The group urged people to donate or volunteer time to help.

On Wednesday, the wildlife care network shared that the first two groups of birds they rescued have been released.

Treatment for the sickness included a focus on fluids, warmth and a diet of fish to help the birds regain their strength. Care for the released birds lasted more than three weeks.

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Several weeks after they initially fell ill, many pelicans were released back into the wild.

The nonprofit says they are still caring for about 60 pelicans at their facility.

Pacific Wildlife Care Center has also released rehabilitated pelicans into the wild.