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Several Seabirds Evacuated in Jesusita Fire Euthanized

Some rescued pelicans, seagulls were unable to recover sufficiently to be released into the wild

After being evacuated from their homes during the Jesusita Fire, several seabirds met a sad end when they were deemed “unreleasable” and had to be euthanized, according to June Taylor, who runs a rehabilitation center and pond for seabirds at her home in North Goleta.

Taylor, who works in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, looks after any injured or ill seabirds that individuals or other agencies have alerted her about. The network operates out of an office at the Fairview Shopping Center in Goleta, and it has the capacity to care for smaller songbirds needing a temporary home.

But larger birds find their way out to Taylor’s home, where she’s helped seabirds with oiled feathers and injuries from hooks or fishing line.  During the Jesusita Fire, she evacuated her home before it was mandatory, and she and a group of volunteers packed up the animals, which included seven pelicans, 20 seagulls, baby ducklings, dogs, rabbits and chickens. In addition, 75 rescued doves were also evacuated to safer surroundings.

Taylor’s home escaped the blaze, and she’s now back home with some of the birds.

But many of the seabirds did not fare so well. After she and the seabirds evacuated her home, Taylor said, the larger birds were transported to a facility in Huntington Beach. There, five of the seven pelicans were considered unreleasable and were euthanized; two, however, were well enough to be released. 

The California Department of Fish and Game is the agency responsible for determining whether an animal can be released into the wild, and makes its decisions based on strict guidelines, Taylor said. In addition to the pelicans, 13 seagulls were released, but five or six had to be euthanized, she said.

“It’s very hard to find homes for them,” she said. In the past, Taylor had found homes for two pelicans at the Santa Barbara Zoo and another pair at a zoo in Los Angeles, but had been unable to find homes for the remaining birds.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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