4 min read

Pelican Caught In Fishing Line Hid An Even Sadder Secret Inside Her Body

This pelican was in need of much more help than anyone could have ever guessed.

On Wednesday, four pelicans were spotted out and about, standing on steel rods sticking up in the waters off Cleveland Point in Brisbane, Australia. At a distance, nothing appeared to be amiss with the seabirds - but upon closer inspection, one female was in need of assistance.

A trio of people who happened to be passing by noticed and knew just what to do.

"It took the keen eyes of Bridgette, Michael and Kelly to notice the fishing line wrapped around this [pelican's] bill," Pelican and Seabird Rescue Inc. (PaSR) wrote on Facebook. "The watchful trio stayed with the little gal [until] PaSR arrived."

Once the PaSR team arrived, it only took about five minutes to capture the bird, as she was easily lured in with the promise of mullet, a type of fish.

Removing the fishing line was one thing, but the pelican's rescuers had no idea that another injury plagued the bird as well - not until she was taken to a hospital for further examination. X-rays revealed not only a large fishhook inside her bill, but three gun bullets. She had been shot. Two of the bullets were embedded inside one of her wings.

It is unknown how long the pelican has been living with the bullets, but, according to PaSR, the ones in her wings fortunately didn't affect her ability to fly. The group added that it would be impossible to track down the perpetrator at this point as they're more than likely long gone, along with any evidence that would guarantee a conviction.

Luckily for the pelican, she's on her way to being released back into the wild soon.

"She is in good hands at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital (CWH) and is expected to make a complete recovery after surgery," PaSR wrote. "Thanks to our eagle-eyed trio for spotting and reporting her quickly and CWH for her much-needed specialized treatment."

Watch this video about paddleboarders who saw a hurt pelican in need and didn't hesitate to help: