Earlier this year, Saltwater Restaurants, Inc. donated $10,000 to Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge (ECWR) to build a shorebird rehabilitation habitat and support the rehabilitation costs for shorebirds that have become injured or orphaned along the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Panhandle area.
- The donation is a part of Saltwater Restaurant’s ongoing S.E.A. Initiative that assists in programs that support beach conservation and welfare campaigns along the Emerald Coast of Florida.
On November 18th, many of the Saltwater Restaurants team, staff and ECWR officially dedicated the habitat “The Saltwater Restaurant’s Peli-pad.”
“ECWR was honored to provide a behind-the-scenes tour to our community partners who came to dedicate the Peli-pad,” said Crystie Baker, Executive Director ECWR. “We were even able to move in its first patient, a Royal Tern, during the Saltwater representatives’ tour, which was a great aspect for them to witness. They were able to see firsthand how an animal must undergo various stages of rehabilitation before returning to the wild, which is the ultimate goal of ECWR’s wildlife work.”
The funds provided by Saltwater Restaurants, Inc.’s S.E.A. Initiative will assist with the treatment costs at Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge where trained specialists work to help pelicans and shorebirds heal from their injury and safely return to their environment.
“Our refuge center treats over 200 shorebirds annually and the average cost for rehabilitation for one of these birds’ can be up to $75 a day for up to 14-days depending on their injuries and care,” said Denise Song, Grants and Donor Manager for ECWR. “The support from Saltwater Restaurants will help fund the medications and professional veterinary attention needed specifically for our brown pelicans, which make up more than half of the shorebirds brought to our center each year.”
Modern threats to brown pelicans and seabirds include:
- Oil spills and pollution
- Human disturbance of nesting colonies
- Entanglement in fishing gear
- Swallowing fishing hooks or debris
Additionally, the funds from will help add signage along local piers for the rescue hotline and helpful instructions for when people come across an injured or entangled seabird or animal.
“The Gulf of Mexico is without a doubt our greatest resource,” said Misty Rae Ruthrauff, Director of Marketing for Saltwater Restaurants Inc. “Our restaurants are committed to giving back to our very own backyard that provides not just a beachfront dining experience, but also the fresh Gulf seafood we serve. The pelicans are an important part of that ecosystem and we want to make sure they are well taken care of.”