Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pelicans find a Home at the Sacramento Zoo

By Tonja Swank, Public Relations Coordinator

A pelican, discovered alone along the mudflats at the Nevada Creek Reservoir, has found a new home at the Sacramento Zoo. After being found stranded and without his right wing (likely due to tangling in abandoned monofilament fishing line), the bird underwent health exams, made a complicated journey, and has landed in Sacramento along with a second pelican that was also injured in the wild. These two American White Pelicans made their debut at the Zoo March 11th.

Both pelicans were found at separate locations in the wild and unable to care for themselves. They were rescued and placed in a Montana rescue facility, but that was not the end of their story. The pair still had to undergo exams, receive clearance from California and Montana Departments of Fish and Game, go on a car ride from Montana to the Hogle Zoo in Utah (where they spent a night), then find an aircraft that had room for two large crates – all before they could reach their new home.

American White Pelicans have not been housed at Sacramento Zoo since 1983. Although the Zoo often receives animals from other zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums based on recommendations from Species Survival Plans, special cases such as this one allow the Zoo to take in animals from rescue facilities that are considered non-releasable, or unable to care for themselves in the wild.

When you visit the Zoo keep an eye out for the new pelicans! They are on the lake and are usually close to the flamingo area.


  1. I remember that the zoo had American white and brown pelicans in the 1970s. They lived in the old sea lion exhibit which is now the African garden area across from the giraffes. It is good to see that these individuals have a good home at the zoo.

    1. I'm so happy the pelicans are at the zoo! It's been a year now that they have arrived at their new home. I've been thinking about them lately. Zamboni, which we called the Nevada Reservoir pelican, is a remarkable individual! The other pelican came from Sacajawea Park in Livingston, MT. I never met her. One day I plan to visit the zoo and to see Zamboni... and Mrs Zamboni. My life is richer having had the opportunity to save Zamboni!