On Thursday, July 13, four pelicans had a very lucky day indeed.

Jon Johnson of Carrabelle transported them home from Wakulla County to be released after recuperating at the Florida Wild Mammal Association.

The one adult pelican and three immatures were rescued in Carrabelle, mostly by Johnson. All had hooks and/or fishing lures and line entangled on their wings, legs or beaks. Chris Beatty at Florida Wild Mammal Association (FWMA) cared for them until their wounds healed and they regained their strength.

She made a point of keeping the four together in the same outdoor enclosure so the young ones would bond with the older mature one. Pelicans are very social and it was important for the young ones to stick with the older one to know where to go, in this case the shoal across from Lanark Village. They also learn hunting techniques from the older one.

Johnson said some of these pelicans were transported by Carrabelle’s Cal Allen after their rescue.

“Cal and his wife Tamara help me with the transport of sick, injured or orphaned wildlife frequently. I asked Cal and our friend Becky Macintosh to help me with the release of these four pelicans from the boat club in Lanark Village." he said.

‘The release went great! Cal and Becky opened the doors of the four carriers simultaneously and all four pelicans flew out over the bay and landed together. After getting their bearings the mature pelican headed right for the shoal (Bird Island) like we hoped they would.

“I do a lot more rescuing than releasing these days and it's still special to me to see the wildlife so many people sometimes had a hand in rescuing and rehabilitating get their chance to once again be free.”

It's the busiest time of year for Chris and her helpers and volunteers at Florida Wild Mammal Association and they are short of money and help to provide this valuable service of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.

The FWMA, a not-for-profit organization supported entirely by donations and grants, was established in 1994 to rescue, rehabilitate, and release the sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in Wakulla, Franklin, Leon, Taylor and Jefferson Counties and part of Leon County. Ove the years it has rescued more than 9,000 mammals, birds and reptiles. It also offers ongoing educational demonstrations for local schools.

In addition to monetary donations, FWMA always needs bleach, paper towels, fruit cocktail, birdseed, nuts, pelican fish (pinfish, finger mullet, thread herring, butterfish), fresh fruit and vegetables, Pedigree wet and dry dog food, Friskies wet and dry cat food, Dawn dish liquid and gift cards from local grocers to give it flexibility in purchasing when needed items are not on hand.

For more information, visit their website at http://www.wakullawildlife.org/.