Texas State Aquarium's Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Program Releases 125 Birds in 2016

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Texas State Aquarium’s Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Program released 125 birds in 2016, according to the Aquarium’s year-end statistics. The Second Chances program, which rescues and rehabilitates sick, injured, or orphaned shorebirds, raptors, sea turtles, and marine mammals, admitted and released significantly more birds than it did in 2015.

Second Chances treated 346 shorebirds and raptors in 2016, which was 88 more patients than they saw in 2015. Many birds were brought in by the public, while Second Chances staff went out and personally rescued 113 birds.  

One of the program’s recent success stories was the rehabilitation and release of three brown pelicans. Each had been picked up entangled in fishing line, and many of them had hooks embedded in their bodies. Their injuries made it impossible for each pelican to fly or even walk, but Second Chances staff was able to remove the monofilament fishing line, treat the birds’ wounds, and help them regain the ability to fly and walk. Each pelican was able to fully recover, and all three were released at Padre Island National Seashore in December 2016.

Each bird’s road to recovery came with its own challenges. Second Chances staff recalls a pelican that was brought in entangled in fishing line and had a hook embedded in one of its wings. Because of its injuries, it had been unable to search for food and was severely malnourished, so much so that it couldn’t safely be given anesthesia. The bird also arrived with several wounds, and had to undergo a lengthy course of medication to fight off infection.  But thanks to Second Chances, the pelican was able to fully heal and was recently released back into the wild. 

Laura Martinelli, Manager of Wildlife Rehabilitation, credits Second Chance’s big year to community support, highly-trained staff, and state-of-the-art equipment. “We are thankful for the opportunity to provide this valuable service and are very proud that we’ve been able to do so much for wildlife conservation,” said Martinelli. “It has truly been a team effort, not only within our department but also involving the entire Aquarium and many members of the community.”  

The Second Chances program relies on donations from the community to operate. Those who wish can help out can make a tax-deductible donation online at texasstateaquarium.org/giveback. Members of the public can also drop off supplies at the Aquarium which help with the rehabilitated birds’ medical care and rehabilitation. A full list of requested supplies can be found at texasstateaquarium.org/wishlist. 

If you find sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife, please contact the Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital directly at 361-881-1210.