Saving South Mississippi Wildlife After Gustav

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - While many South Mississippians are relieved they were spared from the effects of Hurricane Gustav, some Gulf Coast wildlife were not as lucky.

Tuesday afternoon, search and rescue were in full operation to save some South Mississippi birds.

"They are under a tremendous amount of stress right now," said Alison Sharpe, with the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center.

The group spends much of its time saving animals like South Mississippi's juvenile and baby pelicans.

"We can't save them all, we can't rescue them all, but what we've decided to do is just go with the babies and the very, very young juveniles that are just sitting there when we walk up to them," Sharpe said.

Once the group learned of distressed pelicans along the beaches of Waveland, they traveled to Hancock County to help.

"A lot of the juveniles were probably just weather beaten and they are exhausted. Babies do not breed here on the land we have on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The only thing that I can assume is that they were blown in on the waters from the barrier islands out in the Louisiana waters, because that's where their nesting grounds are," said Sharpe.

She says the baby pelicans will perish because they are not strong enough to fly in the strong winds. So one by one, volunteers are collecting the tired birds.

"We will do anything we can to help any kind of animal," said Lydia Sattler, the director of the Waveland Animal Shelter.

"There are so many other animals out there who are in need. And without the people to get out there and help them out, they don't stand a chance," Sattler said.

That's why the shelter, along with several other businesses are donating everything from fish to nesting crates in hopes of saving the young birds.

If you want to make a donation to help the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center or you want to volunteer your time, you can call (228) 669-2737.

By the way, the pelicans aren't the only birds being spotted outside their normal nesting areas. One of our viewers, Nancy Griffin of Long Beach, snapped some pictures of two flamingoes in Pass Christian.