An endangered American white pelican found near death on a lake in B.C.’s southern Okanagan last fall is to be reunited with its flock on May 19, 2020. (Wildlife Rescue photo)

Injured pelican found near death in B.C. heads to Williams Lake after rehab

The bird, found near Oliver, underwent seven months of rehabilitation

An endangered American white pelican found near death on a lake in B.C.’s southern Okanagan last fall is to be reunited with its flock.

A statement from Burnaby-based Wildlife Rescue says members left the centre with the bird early Tuesday morning, bound for an area west of Williams Lake where the bird’s migratory flock has been seen.

When the male pelican was found last October, his flock was gone and he was alone, emaciated and unable to fly after becoming entangled in a fishing line and hooks that left severe punctures and tore one wing.

The bird underwent seven months of rehabilitation and was awaiting release once biologists confirmed its flock had returned to the Cariboo region, the only place in the province where the birds breed.

American white pelicans mainly winter in California but fly north to breed, and the Atlas of Breeding Birds of British Columbia says they are endangered because of their small and vulnerable breeding populations.

The atlas estimates just 300 to 500 breeding pairs return to B.C.

ALSO READ: Wildlife group reminds of pollution dangers after pelican hurt in Okanagan lake

Wildlife Rescue says the recovered pelican’s flock has arrived at Puntzi Lake, about nine hours north of Vancouver, where he will be freed.

Janelle Stephenson, Wildlife Rescue hospital manager, said the pelican needed long-term specialized care tailored for large-bodied birds that float on warm water and should not walk or sit on hard surfaces.

An indoor, heated pool had to be built and “countless hours” were spent managing the pelican’s wounds, infection, nutrition and waterproofing of its feathers, Stephenson said.

“He took months to recover from his initial injury,” she said in the statement.

“Once healed and as the weather warmed, he acclimated to our local climate where he learned how to fly again in a larger outdoor enclosure.”

Wildlife Rescue has called for better public education on fishing and boating practices to prevent similar bird entanglements in future.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Wildlife

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay doctor among 82 physicians, dentists calling on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Structures not threatened by wildfires burning in the Arrow and Kootenay Lakes region

Official says more lightning-caused fires could occur in region over next 36 hours

Harrop-Procter Co-op restores Mill Lake trail

A shelter destroyed by wildfire in 2017 will also be rebuilt

West Kootenay region experiences drier-than-normal July: Report

The region only received around 57% of its normal precipitation during the month

No new COVID cases in Kootenay-Boundary

As of July 30, there were no additional cases in the previous two weeks

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels

Facebook has a long tradition of cloning competitive services

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Most Read