of endangered Brown Pelicans are facing another threat to
their populations this spring. A naturally occurring biotoxin
is killing the birds off California's coast, from Santa Barbara
to San Diego. The toxin, which is caused by an algae bloom,
similar to Red Tide, affects the nervous system, causing death
if not promptly treated with emergency medical care.
The International Bird Rescue Research Center
(IBRRC) in San Pedro, is appealing to the public to help with
manpower and money to treat the birds. The center's veterinarians
have developed an aggressive fluid therapy to flush the toxin
out of the birds system before it causes permanent brain
damage and death.
"We are able to save the birds using this
method," says Jeannie Magis, rehabilitation manager,
"but it is very labor intensive and expensive. We need
volunteers immediately to help our staff, as well as donations
of money to buy the fluids and fish needed to save the birds."
Outbreaks of domoic acid affect the food chain,
including mussels, anchovies and sardines. In years past,
hundreds of marine mammals have died, and now the pelicans,
which feed mainly on anchovies and sardines, are falling victim
to this deadly algae bloom.
IBRRC's rehabilitation center is located at the
Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center, 3601 South
Gaffey, next to the Marine Mammal Center in Fort MacArthur.
Anyone interested in volunteering should call the center at
310-514-2573 or 2574.
Donations can be taken to the center or mailed
to IBRRC, P.O. Box 2816, San Pedro, 90731. IBRRC manages the
San Pedro facility as part of the California's Oiled Wildlife
Care Network (OWCN).
For more information, as well as directions
to the center , please see the bird center's website at
info on outbreaks of domoic acid in coastal waters
to help save the pelicans
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Office: (831) 622-7588