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Brown Pelicans In Trouble

— Biologists say this was a very good breeding year for brown pelicans. The unfortunate side effect seems to be a larger than usual number of young pelicans turning up dehydrated and malnourished.

Aired 7/19/12 on KPBS News.

Large numbers of Brown Pelicans are ending up at the SeaWorld wildlife rescue center in San Diego. The wildlife rescue organizations along the central and northern California coast are seeing the same thing, lots of young sick birds.

Brown Pelicans In Trouble
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SeaWorld San Diego has taken in 110 pelicans since the beginning of the year. Sixty arrived in just the past three weeks. Most of the birds the rescue center is treating are fledglings.

"If they are unable to find fish, or if they are just not skilled enough to be able to find the fish, they are not going to get the sustenance that they need. They are not going to get the hydration that they need to survive," said David Koontz of SeaWorld San Diego.

Koontz says the birds are nursed back to health so they can be released back into the wild. Brown pelicans were on the endangered species list until 2009, in large part because of chemical pollution.

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