Texas State Aquarium's Efforts to Save Injured Birds - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Texas State Aquarium's Efforts to Save Injured Coastal Bend Birds

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CORPUS CHRISTI (Kiii News) -

Corpus Christi is one of the "birdiest" cities in the country. The unfortunate side of that is having several injured or sick birds in need of rehabilitation.

However, one local organization is making every effort to save those animals.

Texas State Aquarium Veterinarian David Stelling recently saw one particular injured seagull fly for the first time in weeks. Unfortunately, he said the bird is most likely forever unfit to survive in the wild.

That's the case for several of the shore and raptor birds at the Texas State Aquarium Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, which houses 150-250 birds a year that have suffered injuries from cars, pellet guns or fish hooks.

"Basically, we're looking to see if there would be any hooks anywhere along the route down here," Stelling said.

It takes $20,000-$30,000 a year to fund the Rehab Center, with the main goal being to get the birds back into their natural habitat to continue to breed in wild populations; but less than 50-percent of those birds make it back into the wild because their injuries are already too severe upon arrival.

With the help of a few employees, like Dr. Stelling and several volunteers, the injured birds are nursed back to health, given daily doses of medication and dozens of pounds of fish per week.

Despite the high percentage of birds that are too injured to make it back to their natural habitat, the Rehab Center is proud of the 306 birds that were either successfully released or nursed back to health since 2010.

"It's very rewarding to see those animals go back out to become part of the population," said Jesse Gilbert, vice president chief operating officer of the Texas State Aquarium. "Hopefully breed and help bring wild numbers back up."

The Rehabilitation Center can always use more volunteers. If you would like to lend a hand, go to www.texasstateaquarium.org.

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