Dolphin Marine Magic’s Dr Duan March and marine specialist Kieran Marshall release the pelican after its recovery at Nambucca Heads.
Dolphin Marine Magic’s Dr Duan March and marine specialist Kieran Marshall release the pelican after its recovery at Nambucca Heads.

Pelican's painful tangle with a fishing line ends well

CAUGHT hook, line and sinker, a pelican has made a recovery against the odds after it suffered a fractured beak in a painful brush with a fishing line.  

The injured sea bird was spotted by staff at the Nambucca Boat shed.

Dolphin Marine Magic veterinary Dr Duan March said he feared the worst when the call came through.  

"My initial thought was that we would be going down there to euthanize the animal, as a fracture of the lower beak is a pretty severe injury for a bird such as the pelican," Dr March said.  

"However after a closer inspection, I could see that although the beak wasn't straight, the fractures were healing and the beak was functional.

"The fishing line coming out of it mouth and wrapping around its body presented a greater threat."

The bird was transported back to Dolphin Marine Magic for assessment and then taken to the Blue and White Veterinary Clinic to use their facilities to perform the operation.

"We anaesthetised the bird and took some xrays, which showed us that there was a fishing hook in the stomach," Dr March said. 

A pelican has been released back into the river at Nambucca Heads by Dolphin Marine Magic vets after it suffered a fractured beak.
A pelican has been released back into the river at Nambucca Heads by Dolphin Marine Magic vets after it suffered a fractured beak.

"These can be a real problem if left in place and can kill the bird," he said. 

"We were unable to get the fishing hook out so I made an incision into the oesophagus, placed my arm down the throat and was able to manipulate the hook out of the lining of the stomach."

The procedure went well and the bird is expected to make a full recovery.

The pelican was released by Dolphin Marine Magic's Dr Duan March and marine specialist Kieran Marshall last Wednesday at Nambucca Heads.

It's hoped she will be swimming around the Boatshed again soon. 



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