A White Pelican Survival Story

american white pelican profile american white pelican in penThe following story was shared with us by the Wildlife In Need Center in Wisconsin.

In early winter a white pelican arrived at the Wildlife In Need Center. It was found by local hunters as they were moving through the nearby marshes. The initial exam revealed it was emaciated with an infestation of parasites and swelling of its right shoulder. Weight upon admission was 2,960 grams (about 6.5 pounds).

As subcutaneous fluids are not safe to administer to pelicans, we had to provide both fluid therapy and nutrition orally. We gave EmerAid IC Piscivore daily to stabilize the pelican’s condition while administering anti-parasitics and manually removing the debilitating parasites.

In time, we were able to transition the pelican safely onto a whole fish diet and introduce it to a larger room with a pool. The pelican enjoyed getting off its feet and swimming, his weight rose to over 5,000 grams (about 11 pounds), but he never regained full mobility in his right wing. This made him unreleasable.

Staff invested a lot of effort into this bird, so we were not ready to give up on it just yet. The pelican’s time in captivity, drawn out by a long recovery process, showed us it was quite personable. With some looking we were able to find a high-quality home for the pelican. He is now a permanent resident at the El Paso Zoo.