MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a big day for a half a dozen injured pelicans which were nursed back to health at Miami’s Pelican Harbor Seabird Station.
Just after noon the six seabirds were released back in the wild. The event also kicked off a new fundraiser organized by Groupon’s philanthropic wing, the G-team. The event works like a regular Groupon deal. When enough people sign up for the deal, it becomes active.
“These pelicans were injured, brought to our facility for care and were released back into the wild,” said the Seabird Station’s executive director Brian Fox. “The fundraiser we are doing with Groupon this week collects five dollar pledges to cover the cost of going out into Biscayne Bay to find and rescue other injured pelicans.”
Fox said in the last four months, the average cost to search local marinas and recover injured sea birds has been about $55 per trip.
“So, every 11 people who make this pledge will fund one trip to search for and rescue pelicans and other seabirds impacted by marine debris and pollution,” said Fox.
He added that the fastest growing expenses associated with rescuing these animals are labor, fish and is fuel. The Seabird Station expects to spend between $8,000 and $10,000 this year on gasoline alone. Last year alone, Fox said those three items accounted for half of their operation budget.
Fox said the Seabird Station, which has been in operation of the 79th Street Causeways since 1980, treats between 1,500 to 2,000 per year. While they primarily treat brown pelicans, Fox said last year they helped more than 120 species of animals.
“Our work load is growing rapidly, the demand for help is out there,” said Fox.
Fishing tackle injuries are the most common for pelicans, according to Fox because they tend to dive on fishermen’s bait as it is being cast out or they try to take someone’s catch off the line as they are reeling it in.
In addition to the Groupon deal, Fox said they are always open to donations via their website. They’re also in need of volunteers.
The Pelican Harbor Seabird Station is a non-profit organization licensed by the state and federal government to take in and treat injured migratory wildlife.