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September 6, 2001

Close Santa Cruz Pier to fishing

Endangered pelicans should be protected from harm

The International Bird Rescue Research Center, the lead organization in the rehabilitation of endangered brown pelicans rescued by Native Animal Rescue of Santa Cruz due to injuries from fishing lines/hooks, is asking that the entire Santa Cruz pier be closed to fishing until the anchovy run is over.

"This is not time for passing the buck, further studies, or excuses," said Jay Holcomb, director of IBRRC, "These are endangered birds that have the legal right to be protected from harm, in whatever form it takes. It is not the job of animal rescue or animal welfare organizations to solve this problem, which we know is directly related to the fact that the pier has not been closed to fishing."

"We are asking the US Fish and Wildlife Service to do whatever is needed to protect these endangered birds and for officials of Santa Cruz to acknowledge that the Endangered Species Act takes precedent over recreational fishing for bait fish, says Holcomb. "We also want the US Fish and Wildlife Service to support our requests for emergency funding to pay for the 175 brown pelicans we have taken in and the birds that continue to be rescued. It isn't right that non-profit organizations like Native Animal Rescue and ours be expected to pay for the care of these Federally protected birds."
IBRRC has a contract with U.S. Fish and Wildlife to rehabilitate brown pelicans affected by botulism at the Salton Sea. "This is the same bird, the endangered brown pelican, that we are being compensated for treating in Southern California and we would like to see similar funding for this incident," adds Holcomb.

IBRRC, who partners with the International Fund for Animal Welfare to rescue and rehabilitate birds who are victims of major oil spills around the world, had to ask IFAW for emergency funding in order to continue to care for the pelicans.
"IFAW is the only organization that has sent us money to help pay for the medicine, food and extra staff required to care for fifty pelicans at a time. This has gone beyond a small incident. I am understanding of the politics of the situation but am appalled that nothing has been done to significantly reduce the impact that the fisherman are having on these birds," says Holcomb.

>From July 4th to September 6th IBRRC took in 175 pelicans and successfully rehabilitated and released almost 80% of those.

IBRRC is celebrating its 30th anniversary saving waterfowl and aquatic birds around the world. In February they moved from Berkeley, to new centers in Cordelia and San Pedro. IBRRC is part of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, a series of 24 centers along the coast of California ready to treat animals that are victims of oil spills.

Fishing lines and hooks take an unknown toll on waterfowl, and even reptiles, mammals and non-target. IBRRC treats birds 365 days a year, many of which are injured by hooks and lines. Donations are needed to help pay for the costs of rehabilitation to return these animals to the wild. Anyone interested in volunteering or sending donations should visit the IBRRC website at www.ibrrc.org or call 707/207-0380 for more information.

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Media contact:

Karen Benzel

Office: (831) 622-7588

E-mail: karen@ibrrc.org


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