Should Brown Pelicans be rehabilitated?
The main point is that this crisis was caused by improper fish waste disposal that can be tracked directly to the discharge pipes at Shelter Cove and Crescent City. Those with jurisdiction over these facilities had been made aware of this problem the previous year. Yet nothing was done before Pelicans arrived this summer. Federal law prohibits harming Brown pelicans. State law prohibits discharging any substance harmful to fish, plants, birds or mammals into any State water. The discharge pipe at Shelter Cove, an Area of Special Biological Significance, and the cleaning station outflow in Crescent City have contaminated hundreds of pelicans and killed many more.
Fish oil and petroleum are similar in how they compromise a bird's waterproofing. Fish oil however does not cause internal damage. Many health problems petroleum spill victims suffer are caused by ingestion of petroleum, not the rehabilitation process. The Pelicans in our care need to be washed and fed. Little else is wrong with them. We have no reason to believe that this calamity will have an impact on their future breeding success.
Rehabilitators working with Brown Pelicans in California have been banding these birds before release for the last 20 years. Still, band returns are not very reliable for post-release survival data… once banded, very few birds are ever seen again. Other post-release studies have their own problems - radio telemetry devices can be a problem for plunge-diving species. In fact most methods of tracking wildlife post-release can be antithetical to the goals and principles of wildlife rehabilitation, which seeks to return wildlife, injured or orphaned, as closely to their condition pre-injury as possible. The only ethical ground we stand on to intervene in the lives of wild animals is our commitment to this return. While post-release data can provide information that may help us improve the care we provide, these studies must be as non-invasive as possible, so as to not add to the simple risk of a free and wild life.
To question treating an injured animal is glib. It fails to imagine the actual world. What is the alternative? Let them suffer and die from their injuries? Capture and euthanize?
If you are walking down the street and you find an injured Robin, what will you do? Wildlife rehabilitators answer this question many times over every day.
Wildlife care providers, including those of us at Bird Ally X, diligently review practices to improve care. Are our experiences and results worthless? Unless we attempt to provide care there is no learning. To propose that wildlife rehabilitation should not be attempted because not enough biologists have studied its efficacy is disingenuous. Such a proposition poses as science while rejecting the practice that advances knowledge. Such a proposition leaves no room for action, nor does it allow for progress, or a difference, to be made.
the time of making the world better for trucks has at last been seen for the lousy idea it always was. why spend the last few years of the oil empire wrecking just a little bit more?
My wife and I also enjoyed a fantastic tour of the Lanphere Dunes (it happened to be Jan 9 2010, and we were just above the surf when the earth quaked not 5 minutes after our guide explained how the dunes we stood on had been formed by an earthquake 300 years ago and that they repeat on a roughly 300 hundred year cycle, so we should expect one anytime!!!) Other than the mad dash for the highest dune, the tour was excellent. The requirement of an orientation to the Dunes enhanced the sense that we were entering a special place. It certainly didn't bother us that we needed this introduction to the needs of the dunes before being turned loose upon them.
I can't think of any reason why we shouldnt take these simple steps to help what has been so severely damaged by the well-known thoughtless or misguided or downright crummy intentions that have prevailed since colonialization.
When folks go on a warpath because they are asked to take part in a community process that is intended to protect what has been wounded, it makes you wonder exactly what their motivation might be since concern for the well-being of their own habitat doesnt appear to be that primary.
the romano gabriel sculptures are quite lovely... eureka is improved by them. i'm not sure what is supposed to be the joke here.
In Print This Week:
Dec 5, 2013
vol XXIV issue 49
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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