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December 22, 2005

Hundreds of stitches needed

Endangered Pelican undergoes delicate surgery to repair torn pouch

San Pedro, CA

Peli torn pouch before photo

Before surgery begins, juvenile brown pelican with a torn pouch. (IBRRC photo)

A juvenile California brown pelican, whose pouch was almost completely torn off, is now doing well at International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) in San Pedro California. The bird underwent a delicate, three and a half hour surgery, requiring hundreds of stitches. Veterinarian, Heather Nevill, who performed the surgery, said the bird’s prognosis is good.

The young pelican was found dying on a Santa Barbara beach. He was half his normal weight. It’s not known how his pouch was torn but without a pouch he would either starve to death or drown.

When deemed ready for release, this bird will become part of IBRRC’s new Pelican Partner program. For a $500 adoption fee, a pelican lover can be present at their bird’s final exam and banding, and can open the cage door to release it back to the wild. The fee helps pay for this endangered species care. The adopter also receives a certificate with the bird’s Federal band number.

More information about IBRRC’s work and other bird adoption programs, which start at $25, can be found on their website at www.ibrrc.org.

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IBRRC has been helping birds around the world since 1971. Its mission is to mitigate human impact on aquatic birds and other wildlife. This is achieved through rehabilitation, emergency response, education, research, planning and training.

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