Pepe, The Foster Dad

In Mid-June, a baby pelican was brought to the Center for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) in Sanibel Island. The finder said he was fishing off the coast and found the baby floating in the water all alone. This baby was clearly too young to be on its own. CROW gladly took him in but didn’t have any other pelicans in residence at the time. Since it is always best to raise young with others of their species they brought it to PHSS knowing we maintain a flock of non-releasable pelicans. Staff evaluated the baby and found it in surprisingly good health but a little underweight. Being so small and underweight they decided to keep it in the hospital for a while. Two weeks later it was moved outside to spend limited time with our permanent flock. Most of the permanents just ignored it, a few were curious and one tried to eat it. Pepe came to his rescue protecting the baby from the others. We decided to move the baby into a separate pen with Pepe and two others. This way the baby would still be with other pelicans but would be safe. From that point on the baby and Pepe were almost inseparable. Who knew Pepe would respond like this? Pepe builds a nest every year but won’t allow other pelicans near it. He has never mated that we know of but he evidently has strong parental instincts. Under Pep’s watchful care the CROW baby has grown and is doing fantastic. He was recently moved into a pen with the rehab pelicans which is the next step in learning how to be a wild pelican. We have high hopes that over the next few weeks the CROW baby will continue to learn and grow and will soon be ready to resume life as a wild pelican.