Darwin Animal Doctors


Pelican in distress

Everybody knows you’re not just a vet during the normal 9 to 5 working hours. A vet continues to think like a vet 24/7… even when they are on holidays. For three volunteers from the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic, this well known fact was recently realized during a lunch time visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station…

The team was visiting the beaches which run through the Research Station, when they came across a pelican in distress… Whilst tourist are not normally able to intervene with local wildlife, the Darwin Animal Doctors have a unique agreement with the National Park that we are able to intervene if an injury or illness is caused directly from human interference. In this case, the pelican was completely entangled in fishing line which was also caught on a series of lava rocks, tying the poor pelican down. The bird was confused, frightened and chaotically flapping about, desperately trying to get himself free of the line, but was only getting himself more tangled and making his situation worse…

The Doctors realized that it would be quite difficult to free the distressed pelican as the line was tangled in rocks from one end of the beach to the other. So they quickly devised a plan. With the help of a jacket and two strong (and daring) girls, the pelican was immobilized and the third volunteer could then quickly set to untangling him. The pelican, in all his distress, had managed to get the line caught around his webbed feet, in his wings and all round his body. The Doctors worked carefully and strategically and managed to remove all the fishing line. They then inspected the pelican to make sure he sustained no substantial injury from his chaotic flapping about. Luckily they did, as they found a fish hook hanging from his neck! The poor pelican must have grabbed himself a quick and easy lunch, not realizing that his meal was attached to a nasty fish hook… The team then gently removed the hook and gave the bird one final check over, finding no further injuries. As the team were trying to intervene as little as possible, and had no medical supplies with them, they decided the best thing for the pelican was now to set him free. So the team did just that.

The slightly overwhelmed pelican stumbled away before realizing that he had been granted his freedom. Grateful, he had one last look around before taking flight! The Doctors then cleaned up the rest of the fishing line to make sure no other bird ended up in the same terrible situation… and then headed on back to work…

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