Lifestyle

Vera the pelican bounces back after suffering severe injury

An X-ray of Vera, the pelican, who needed surgery after getting tangled in fishing line and a hook.
An X-ray of Vera, the pelican, who needed surgery after getting tangled in fishing line and a hook. Contributed

A PELICAN that suffered horrific injuries after getting tangled in fishing line and a hook has been released.

Volunteers from Australian Seabird Rescue last week received a call from a member of the public who had spotted the adult female bird looking distressed near the sailing club in Ballina.

ASR's Tiffany Lee said one of the group's "bird whisperers" brought the pelican back to their rehabilitation centre on North Creek Rd to be assessed.

The pelican - dubbed Vera - was then taken to the Lennox Head Vet Clinic where she was x-rayed and underwent surgery, leaving her with multiple stitches.

Ms Lee said Vera was one of the lucky ones.

I would say that 60 to 70 per cent of birds around here have hook and line injuries. It's a huge number

- Tiffany Lee, Australian Seabird Rescue

"She was in a pretty bad way, she was struggling. She had fishing line trailing from her and a hook in her throat ... she was obviously in a lot of pain," she said.

"The injury was not a nice one. But the crew at Lennox Head Vet Clinic did a great job - as always - and we have now been able to release Vera."

Since her release, the pelican has buddied up with another former ASR patient, a juvenile called Tio.

"He's really taken her under his wing," Ms Lee said.

"Pelicans are incredibly resilient ... they've both recovered so well."

But the team at ASR have a strong message for local fishing enthusiasts: Don't leave your fishing line, hooks and sinkers behind.

Ms Lee said injuries like those seen on Vera were increasingly common, yet easily prevented.

"I would say that 60 to 70 per cent of birds around here have hook and line injuries. It's a huge number," she said.

"We've seen birds that get fishing line wrapped around their beaks, which obviously means that they can't feed.

"People need to take their fishing tackle with them. Be responsible, have a conscience.

"Birds, like pelicans in particular, like to hang around fishermen because they can spot an easy meal.

"Unfortunately, it's often to their detriment."

Topics:  australian seabird rescue, editors picks, fishing, pelicans




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Find out how your sitting federal members voted on issues

Richmond MP Justine Elliott at the Murwillumbah Community Centre. Contributed

A website to help you see how your representatives vote.

Animal rescue centre could run out of money in three months

Animal Rights and Rescue admin officer Suzanne Lavis with young Nicko who has a broken leg and was left at the vest and never reclaimed. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Animal Rights & Rescue is getting desperate for donations

LETTER: Woolworths 'tricking customers' about milk supplies

Woolies are hiding farmer’s milk out the back of their stores, according to our letter writer.

Woolies not helping the dairy farmer cause

Latest deals and offers

Lismore real estate agent celebrates 100th birthday

LJ Hooker Lismore principal Paul Deegan is the third generation to operate the 100-year-old family business.

A Lismore real estate is celebrating 100 years in business.

Coastal development keeps young people on Northern Rivers

Wes Bale is a 27-year-old born and bred Lennox Head local who is an example of the demographic shift in the region.

Young Northern Rivers residents are looking closer to home