FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — A group of rehabilitated pelicans was released back into the wild on Friday, the same day as a new habitat was unveiled.
South Florida Wildlife Center officials released the birds after showing off a new habitat meant to nurse them back to health.
The new Fort Lauderdale habitat is meant to be the pelican patients’ last stop before being released back into nature. The 16-foot high habitat includes an in-ground swimming pool.
With more space for swimming, diving, and flying, it’s a place where injured pelicans can recover and regain the skills they need to live on their own.
“We make sure they swim. They can fly, so everything they’d be doing in the ocean we do our best to replicate that here,” said Dr. Renata Schneider.
The center often sees pelicans injured by fishing hooks or lines, as well as weak or young birds. At times, pelicans also come in after being deliberately hurt.
“We do care for injuries to not only pelicans but other animals from human beings that have bad intentions. It’s very sad,” said Jeffrey Arciniaco with the center.
After being treated for various injuries or illnesses three birds were released Friday at John U. Lloyd Beach State park in Hollywood.
“I think we’ve done a wonderful job with our habitat, but nothing beats the open air and the ocean, so I’m sure they’re thrilled to be back here,” said Schneider.