By Indigo Lemay-Conway
Volunteers have saved a pelican speared in the neck with a fishing hook after a three-hour rescue.
The pelican was found on Tuesday morning, following a four-day search by Western Australian Seabird Rescue volunteers Barbara Manson and her daughter Sharon, after locals noticed the bird was entangled in fishing debris.
“After looking for ages, I finally found the bird at Lake Richmond, standing by herself on the edge of the water,” Mrs Manson said.
“We went down with some fish and a white bucket to pretend we were fisherman, hoping she would let us get close to her.
“She knew exactly what we were trying to do so she paddled off into a group of about 30 pelicans and it was hard to actually spot which one she was,” Mrs Manson explained.
The mother and daughter duo spent three hours kayaking and trying to corner the bird on the side of the lake, before Sharon finally jumped in the water and managed to capture the injured animal.
Mrs Manson said that it was only after they got home, that they truly noticed the extent of the bird’s injuries. The pelican had hooks embedded and twisted into its pouch, fishing line wrapped around her wing and a broken toenail.
WA Seabird Rescue president Halina Burmej says that approximately 40-50 per cent of their work is caused by fishing line entanglements and debris.
“As our business is getting better known, we are just getting more and more calls about birds that people would have otherwise been sadly ignored,” Mrs Burmej said.
“Now people are realising there’s a seabird rescue group they can call for help.
“We get about three to six calls a day and at this rate, we aren’t going to go out of business any time soon,” Mrs Burmej said.
The pelican was transferred to Native ARC inc for surgery to remove the hooks from its pouch and will remain in Mrs Manson’s care until it can be released back into the wild.