Pelican Protection Alliance formation announcement

 

Santa Cruz Pelican Crisis Appears Over for Now Groups pull together to find solutions to help the birds

 

After rescuing almost 200 endangered brown pelicans that were caught by fishing lines and hooks this summer, Native Animal Rescue of Santa Cruz and International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) in Cordelia, California have joined with other groups to try and find solutions to this problem.

A new organization, Pelican Protectin Alliance, was formed in Santa Cruz in a meeting of volunteer bird rescuers, kayakers, people who fish from the wharf, conservation managers, non profit community groups, and wharf personnel. They met to address the issue of human/ pelican conflict over shared resources, and help mitigate the impact on the birds. The Pelican Protection Alliance will work with city, state and federal officials to propose solutions to the problem of pelicans being hooked, especially during peak anchovy runs.

A major educational campaign is the group's main focus, because many people were not aware that the California Brown Pelican is an endangered bird, protected by both Federal and State laws. Permanent signs will be developed with the Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department, who manages fishing on the pier. Save Our Shores will create an educational kiosk on the wharf, which will include the natural history of the brown pelican and outline the laws protecting these majestic birds. The Ocean Conservancy will research local, state and federal law and craft a unified policy the group will propose for the City of Santa Cruz.

International Bird Rescue will be organizing an educational campaign about monofilament line recycling, and setting up containers on the wharf in order that lines and hooks are disposed of responsibly. Pelican Network will recruit docents for informing the public at the Wharf about the unique history of California Brown Pelicans, and how to respect wildlife.

This summer, a total of 171 brown pelicans were rescued from the Santa Cruz area alone, with 14 deaths, 28 having to be euthanized due to injuries beyond treatment and 80 successfully rehabilitated for release. International Bird Rescue, the main organization treating the birds, still has 49 pelicans undergoing rehabilitation at their center.

Pelican Protection Alliance will have it's own web page through Pelican Network, <http://www.pelicannetwork.net>, where the public and other organizations interested in helping, can go for information and updates. Phone numbers for the main organizations protecting the birds are: Native Animal Rescue, 831-462-0726; IBRRC, 707-207-0380 and the Ocean Conservancy, 831-425-1363.

The total cost for caring for the birds is estimated at $50,000. Anyone wishing to make a donation can find pertinent information on the organization websites.

The California Brown Pelican is an endangered species. In the 1960s this classic coastal bird's population was terribly decimated by the wide spread use of agricultural pesticides. In the 1970s they were on the brink of extinction. Since the banning of DDT, and with the federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, the pelican has made a dramatic comeback. But, the extraordinarily high kill rates by fishing hooks and lines, is a horrible irony after society realized its earlier errors with this bird, and has done so much to protect it.

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Karen Benzel
PR/Media Relations
IBRRC
California Headquarters
510/814-7227 phone
510/769-7619 fax
e-mail karenbenzelpr@home.com

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