Wednesday, June 13, 2012


It is with a sad heart that we tell our readers that Gumbo, the Brown Pelican, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last week.

There was no indication at feeding time that morning of any problem, but a few hours later he was observed acting strangely by one of our volunteers,,who immediately alerted a staff member.  By the time the staff member reached Gumbo’s enclosure he had expired.

Gumbo’s actual age was unknown.  He came to World Bird Sanctuary during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010.  He was originally treated for a left wing injury at Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Florida in December of 2008.  Gumbo was not releasable, and so was kept on permanent exhibit with fellow Brown Pelican, Cocoa--an exhibit that was the perfect size for two permanently captive Brown Pelicans

The experienced wildlife rehabilitators at Suncoast knew that Gumbo’s and Cocoa’s enclosure could house up to 40 injured oiled seabirds on a short-term basis, if needed.  The large number of birds admitted to Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary during the 2010 oil spill stretched their capacity to the llimit.  Suncoast asked World Bird Sanctuary to provide a home to Gumbo and Cocoa so that their enclosure could be used for the short-term housing of the many injured seabirds admitted to Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary during and after the oil spill.

Gumbo will be missed, as he and his companion Cocoa were a welcome addition to our display line—allowing visitors to see the differences between the Brown Pelican and their neighbors on the display line, the American White Pelican.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer

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