WIRES Mid North Coast rescue four pelicans from fishing related injuries

A fish hook leg injury and entangled fishing line debris.


FOLLOWING calls for help from concerned locals and visitors, WIRES Mid North Coast branch has rescued four pelicans in recent weeks all needing veterinary assistance to remove fishing line and hooks from their legs, wings and stomachs.

Discarded fishing tackle is unfortunately a major cause of often fatal injuries to many of our river and coastal dwelling wildlife especially seabirds.

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WIRES Mid North Coast has a dedicated team of local volunteers who are trained to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife, however they were very grateful to have the support of vet Dr Duan March to help contain and rescue these huge birds.

Dr March has extensive marine wildlife experience and is currently on sabbatical leave so was able to lend a much needed hand.

However rescuing a wily pelican is never simple according to WIRES volunteer Tina Birtles.

“We had to implement a strategic plan to gain each affected bird’s trust offering small feeds of fish over the space of several days,“ said Mrs Birtles.

“Once we were able to get close enough Dr March donned his wetsuit and with expert timing and lightning speed he managed to contain each pelican with minimum fuss or stress.

“He untangled the fishing line and recommended further treatment with local vet Dr Kristie Neale, from Mid Coast Vets.”

WIRES is pleased to report that three of the rescues were successfully treated by Dr Neale including one pelican with multiple hooks in stomach and after a few weeks in rehabilitation they have been released back into the waterways where they were rescued.

Unfortunately one bird could not be saved due to the extensive injuries to its leg.

It is a timely reminder of the devastating injuries that can happen to our unique marine wildlife as a result of discarded fishing tackle.

Fishing is great fun for the whole family, however WIRES ask that people take the time to collect all their fishing debris afterwards, especially any fishing line and hooks, before disposing of it in the council bins provided or taking it home to their own rubbish bins.

WIRES would like to especially thank Dr March and Dr Neale for helping save and treat these majestic birds so they could return to their natural habitat.

If you find any injured or entangled wildlife please call WIRES on 1300 094 737.


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