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Pelican Rescued From Fishing Gear by Oakland Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: October 29, 2021 12:27 pm

American white pelican rescue Oakland Zoo

 ‘Merritt’ the American White pelican receives treatment at Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital following his rescue due to a fishing hook being stuck in his neck

Photo Credit: Amanda Carberry/ Columbus Zoo and Aquairum

Staff and vets at Oakland Zoo have worked to rescue an American white pelican which was rescued in distress from Lake Merritt near the zoo. Upon arrival at the scene it was discovered that the pelican had a large fishhook lodged in its neck and fishing line was circling the neck and bill.

Due to the presence of the fishing line the pelican had been unable to eat or drink for several weeks. He has been nicknamed 'Merritt' by Oakland Zoo staff.

The rescue team used two kayaks and a small motorboat to reach and capture the pelican. After the rescue it was brought to Oakland Zoo's Veterinary hospital by Oakland Zoo’s VP of Animal Care, Colleen Kinzley, and Zoological Manager Andrea Dougall for treatment.

On arrival at the wildlife hospital the pelican was examined and had fluids administered while a blood draw was also conducted. Initial observations shows the pelican was suffering from dehydration, starvation and appeared to also have anemia.

The team removed the fishing hook from the neck following the examination.

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Since the removal of the hook the team at the Oakland Zoo Wildlife Hospital have been able to feed smelt and capelin fish to Merritt. They are hopeful he will recover following a stay at the hospital for ongoing wound treatment and recovery.

Unfortunately the story of this pelican is a common occurrence. Many coastal birds and other marine life are affected by cut and discarded fishing lines or associated hooks.

“Untold numbers of birds, turtles and other wildlife are affected by this solvable issue. Proper disposal of fishing line is crucial, and every citizen can help by picking up any fishing items found in nature”, says Amy Gotliffe, Vice President of Conservation at Oakland Zoo.

Between 2002 and 2015 a study by the Audubon Society reported that a California based bird rescue treated 2,957 birds due to injuries from fishing gear.

American white pelican rescue Oakland Zoo

 ‘Merritt’ the American White pelican receives treatment at Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital following his rescue due to a fishing hook being stuck in his neck

Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo

Learn more about Birds here – Bird Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Oakland Zoo on their website – Oakland Zoo

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