WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (February 15-21, 2010)

ANIMAL WELFARE

Pelicans eat through bird-rescue group’s budget; The San Pedro nonprofit is shoveling out $11,000 a month to feed hundreds of ravenous birds that turned up sick last month along the West Coast.” By Jill Leovy. Los Angeles Times. February 20, 2010. The San Pedro nonprofit group charged with treating sick pelicans is suffering an affliction of its own: strapped finances. That’s because a cold and starving pelican eats a whopping 6 pounds of fish a day — half its body weight. Hundreds of brown pelicans turned up dead or ailing along the West Coast in January after what researchers said was a miscalculation: They strayed to the far northern edge of their range, stayed too long and ran out of food. When they came south, they found food scant here too. So they turned up listless on beaches or begging for food in parking lots, and were rescued by San Pedro’s Oiled Bird Care and Education Center. The facility is run by the International Bird Rescue Research Center, which has a $1.1-million annual budget and is one of the largest in the state’s network of groups that rescue birds affected by oil spills. The group was able to save about two-thirds of the 435 pelicans it has treated so far at its two coastal centers, but the effort has meant shoveling out $11,000 a month for pelican all-you-can-eat seafood dinners.

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