The Port of Long Beach announced Tuesday that it is expanding its partnership with International Bird Rescue, a global expert in oiled wildlife emergencies and aquatic bird care, a partnership that was unofficially established during an animal cruelty case that made Southern California headlines earlier this year.
The Port has committed a total of $20,000 during 2014 to support International Bird Rescue’s primary mission to care for injured wildlife, affected by the urban environment, including birds found in Long Beach and surrounding communities.
“The Port of Long Beach is thrilled to continue our partnership with the International Bird Rescue. Through the Green Port Policy we are committed to improving the harbor environment both for people and wildlife,” said Michael Gold, Port Director of Communications and Community Relations.
As part of this partnership, the Port and International Bird Rescue will work together to highlight the remarkable species that live in local marine environments through a regular “sponsored patient” campaign. Each sponsored bird will reflect the biodiversity of local ecosystems, and will be prominently featured on POLB and IBR social media, often from intake to release.
Through its Green Port Policy, the Port has worked to maintain area marine habitat as well as to actively monitor local
populations of bird species. The Green Port Policy also has supported habitat restoration at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and other local wetlands that serve as key stopover points for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway, which stretches from Alaska to Argentina.
The partnership unofficially began this spring, when Pink, an adult California brown pelican, was found on the Long Beach shoreline with its throat pouch cut from ear to ear by an unknown perpetrator. The Port contributed $5,000 to surgery for the pelican, nicknamed “Pink,” who was released in early June.
The first official sponsored bird is an American avocet, one whose nest had been recently abandoned due to human activity; the bird has been raised among other wading birds and shorebirds at International Bird Rescue. Avocets are federally protected wading birds that can be seen “sweeping” their upturned bills through shallow water for food at critically important coastal wetlands. More information on this sponsored bird can be found here.
“Many of the bird species that call the Long Beach area home also are some of our most common patients,” said Barbara Callahan, interim executive director of International Bird Rescue. “We see a natural connection between our mission to protect birds from human activity and the Port of Long Beach’s commitment to local wildlife and the habitats they depend on.”