American white pelican stuck at animal refuge, to find new home after government shutdown ends

White pelican stuck at animal refuge during government shutdown, to find new home

WAUKESHA COUNTY, WI (WTMJ/CNN) - The partial government shutdown may be over for now but for those who depend on federal money, the recovery may take a while.

One American white pelican could finally be on his way to a new home after President Donald Trump announced an end to the 35-day government shutdown Friday.

"Obviously that's great. The sooner we can get him there the better," said Mandy Feavel, director of the Wildlife In Need Center.

The pelican used to live at the Horicon Marsh but arrived at the facility two months ago after a neighbor found him injured and infected with parasites.

The non-profit rehabbed him but he's not likely to fly again.

"(It’s) because of that arthritis so he has that limited range of motion in his left wing," Feavel said.

Workers found a zoo in Texas willing to take him in.

The pelican was healthy enough to leave a month ago.

But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to sign off on that switch and that office has been closed during the government shutdown.

“Once we send in paperwork for Fish and Wildlife, it can, on average, take about two to three weeks,” Feavel said.

Feavel hopes that will finally happen now that the government is reopening.

She’s aware there were other requests that piled up while the government was closed.

And as that wait continues, feeding the pelican remains pricey. He eats $30 a day in fish.

The facility will continue to take cash donations and fish to help feed its long-term guest.

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