By Michele RobertsonA journey of one kind, typically begins with the start of another. Where we’llend up is never certain. A migrating pelican crash lands in the desert near Artesia, NM in October 2016, leaving him unable to fly. Enter Mr. P. Body, an American White Pelican. This curious pelican enjoys a crowd of people and has character like no otheryethas found himself lonely after being moved to a bigger enclosure with more indoor and outdoor space for his enjoyment. Problem is, it was away from the bustle of the busy veterinary office at Desert Willow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (DWWRC), wherehe would entertain visitors and interact with all who came by. Covid-19 also put a damper on his social life. As an educational ambassador for the DWWRC Mr. P. Body had the privilege of visiting local school children, different organizations, and many events around the region. This lonely bird now has a new friend, and the two are getting along wonderfully so far according to Lori Singer, volunteer at DWWRC. Peli has been at the DWWRC for a little over a week now. Peli, also an American White Pelican was brought into the Chintimini Wildlife Center in Corvallis Oregon in January of 2020 with similar injuries to Mr. P. Body. It was determined that Peli would not be able to fly again and with its calm demeanor would make a goodcandidate for an educational bird. Thus,began the journey to unite the two. Peli has traveled over 1800 miles to live out the rest of their days alongside Mr. P. Body. Peli’s journey went from Oregon to California, then on to New Mexico. Several agencies and organizations have helped transport Peli to Carlsbad; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Chintimini Wildlife Center, SeaWorld, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Desert Willow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, and Turtles Fly Too. “We couldn’t have accomplished this without their generous help,” shared Dr. Sammie Uhrig, Executive Director for the DWWRCPeli was able to catch a ride with a loggerhead sea turtle that was heading to sunny southern California after being cold stunnedon the Oregon coast.Both passengers flew from Oregon to SeaWorld in San Diego, where the turtle will be released into the ocean. Peli was able to recuperate for a few days at SeaWorld before making their final flight aboard Turtles Fly Too.Upon arrival in Carlsbad Peli was greeted by volunteers and board members. After Peli was off the plane they were loaded onto a golf cart and escorted by Chandler Aviation to the last transport before making it home. Once the group arrived at the center, Singer set to work weighing, inspecting, and interacting with Peli. To begin with Peli and Mr. P. Body were in separate pens right next to each other andwere later moved in together.
“They both get along, but Peli is a pill to feed,” shares Singer. She also shared that gender has yet to be determined for the new arrival.These two pelicans each had a different journey before them until they were injured. Now as educational ambassadors for wildlife, they will help enhance understanding during presentations for the public and live a long and healthy life under the care of the staff at DWWRC.Interested in helping out? Donations are always appreciated and can be made in several ways. You could drop off or mail it to 512 E Fiesta Drive, Carlsbad NM, 88220. You can visit their website athttps://desertwillowwildliferehabilitationcenter.com/and donate through Paypal. If you shop on Amazon,you can switch to using the AmazonSmile app and add the DWWRC as your charity of choice and a portion of qualifying purchases is donated to the charity at no additional cost to you. There is also a demand fund at the Carlsbad Community Foundation. For more information or to volunteer, reach out at 575.885.3399 you can also find themon Facebook.