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7 Nov 2017
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Sanibel Wildlife

We recently saw a pelican at the Sanibel pier that had a huge fish "resting" in its pouch.

While pelicans can easily swallow whole fish in just one gulp, this pelican appeared not to be able to do so.

We watched as it appeared to try to swallow, lifting up its head and gulping, but the fish remained in place.

In closer inspection, it was apparent the fish was stuck in the pouch.

It was not a whole fish but one that had been cut in half and the spines were not only sticking out, but piercing the pouch of the bird, holding it there despite all the pelican's efforts.

Not feeling confident that we could deal with the beached bird on our own, we were told to call Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, also known as CROW.

It was then that we discovered that CROW has an emergency line where one can reach assistance.

If you find an animal that you think needs help, please call CROW at (239) 472-3644, ext. 222. They are there to evaluate and, if necessary, rescue and treat animals so that they can be returned to their habitats.

The CROW staff will ask for your location and request stay at the location. And they will dispense an expert or two to come and assist in a safe capture.

Of course the agency is not open 24/7, but they do check on messages left on the phone.

They also have a drop off location right on the island as well as convenient locations in the Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres area to drop off wildlife in need of help.

CROW also offers some good advice in the event you do come across an animal that looks injured or orphaned:

"Keep a safe distance.
Please remember, you should not automatically pick up or even approach injured wildlife. Certain animals should only be handled by experts, particularly if they are ill or injured. Disturbing animals could lead to further injury and you could put yourself at risk of bites or attacks, as well.

Some animals that appear orphaned may not really need rescuing. For example, baby birds that are learning to fly often hop on the ground as a parent watches nearby, and picking them up interrupts that process. Similarly, baby rabbits found on the ground might not necessarily be orphaned. Mother rabbits feed them only at dawn and at dusk, and then typically do their best to stay hidden."

It is good to know that a Clinic so devoted to the welfare of the Island's animal population is so easily accessible and available with sound counsel , guidance and direct assistance.