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Beautiful Southern California sea birds are facing so many threats ranging from constant oil spills to bullets, plastic pollution, fast driving cars of the pacific coast highway, fishing lines and fishing hook, sewage spills, and so much more. Sea birds are in desperate need of help, and now even more than ever. A strangely more than normal number of dead and severely sick sea birds have been showing up on California beaches with a terrible illness that currently has no cure... potentially caused by a parasite from sewage and hazardous material in their habitat.
Just in the one day walking on the beach in north county San Diego, I came across three dead sea birds and one sick Cormorant.
I saw this beautiful Cormorant last week, he appeared fine at first, but as I stayed and watched him closely something seemed out of place. He kept using the waves to come to shore, when people on the beach scared him, he flew back to the ocean. It was obvious something was not right. I watched him for several hours and at the same time for I called all the animal rescue center's I found in San Diego area for help. Each place either was closed or was unable to drive to the location to help. After several hours, just around sunset, I connected with the life guards who were able to capture the bird and keep him at their head quarters for a rescue center to pick up. Sadly even after the rescue, this Cormorant most probably did not make it, as increasing number of sick and dead sea birds are washing to shore.
Wildlife Rescue Process
1- Why is it so hard to find help when one comes across a sick bird that needs help?
Dedicated organizations such as Wetlands & Wildlife Center in Huntington Beach, and the International Bird Rescue in LA do such incredible work to rehabilitate and save injured wildlife. But how are injured wildlife located, and how do they get to a rehabilitation center?
Currently there is no organized process or system for this. What is in place now is to contact the humane society or some other organizations depending on the location to pickup the wildlife . However, there is no organized way, no system that an individual who sees an injured wildlife can call to come and rescue the injured wildlife quickly and effectively.
3- A key piece is missing: The trained individuals who are able to capture and transport injured wildlife to a rehabilitation center, as well as a user friendly system that connects the trained rescue individuals with individuals who find injure wildlife and with wildlife rehabilitation centers.
Over the last ten years technology has advanced in such great extent, however, there is still no single application or system that can easily be used to detect injured wildlife and help quickly get the injured wildlife to a rehabilitation center.
We need a basic collaborative system that connects the injured wildlife with selected wildlife rescue agents and wildlife rehabilitation centers. There is an urgent need for an organized and collaborative animal rescue process. A way for local life guards or local trained volunteers/ groups to be on call for capturing injured wildlife and taking them to rehabilitation centers.
If you come across a bird that appears to be sick in Southern California, here is a list of wildlife rehabilitates to contact:
1- Wetland & Wildlife Care Center (Orange County)
2- International Bird Rescue (Los Angeles)
3- Sea World Rescue (San Diego)
How do you know if a wildlife is injured or ill? Here are some tips from my experience.
1- Go with your gut feeling... does it look like this wildlife is out of place? Do you normally see them alone on the sand or do you see them flying in groups?
2- When you slowly move close to them, do they stand still or do they move? Do they watch you closely without moving? Do they move slower than usual?When it comes to birds, are they sitting with their head tucked in their back feathers for a long time?
Are you a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the wildlife and interested in developing wildlife rescue systems and exploring collaboration opportunities with us? Contact us!
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
— Albert Einstein