Pete the Pelican set free

Cayman Wildlife Rescue volunteers successfully released a juvenile Brown Pelican that was rescued on Seven Mile Beach in November.

Sara and Pete the pelican

Volunteer Sara Galletly frees Pete the Pelican.
Photo: Katie Attenborough

The bird’s migration journey injured his wing and exhausted him, said a press release from the group.

The pelican was found by a concerned visitor, Barbara Holz, on Seven Mile Beach on 24 November.

Upon being approached, the bird stumbled along the beach trying to fly. Mrs. Holz contacted the Cayman Wildlife Rescue Hotline – 917-BIRD.

Upon arriving at the scene volunteers captured the pelican and took it to the vet.

The bird was exhausted from its migration, underweight and had an injured wing. After assessment by the staff at Island Veterinary Services Pete the Pelican was taken to the Cayman Wildlife Rescue facility in South Sound. There, a dedicated band of volunteers, made up of Sara Galletly, Katie Attenborough, Jenny Murphy and Catherine Redfern, medicated him and ensured that he was fed his high-protein and high-fat diet of herring and sprats twice a day.

He was also sprayed with fresh water everyday to prevent desiccation of the waterbird’s skin and to encourage him to preen so that his natural skin oils would continue to coat his feathers and keep him waterproof and ready to swim upon his release.

Flying free

At 12pm just before Christmas, after a month spent rehabilitating Pete the Pelican, Cayman Wildlife Rescue volunteers took him to the beach near South Sound Cemetery. While normal policy is to release a rehabilitated animal where it was found, volunteers felt that Seven Mile Beach was just too busy for a bird trying to get its bearings after a month in rehabilitation.

After tentatively waddling out of the carrier and getting a feel for being free Pete the Pelican hopped along the beach and then opened his wings and lifted up into the air.

After a short, strong flight over the South Sound shallows he landed in the water and immediately started bathing. He was monitored by volunteers for two hours who watched him fly, swim, bathe and fish, and it was determined that he was healthy and safe.

WHO THEY ARE

Cayman Wildlife Rescue is a collaborative volunteer organisation comprising volunteer members of the public, National Trust of the Cayman Islands, Island Veterinary Services, the Humane Society, the Department of Environment and Cayman Wildlife Connection. A small, quiet facility where animals can recuperate from injury and prepare for rehabilitation is maintained by volunteers and funded entirely by donations. If you would like to volunteer or make a donation to Cayman Wildlife Rescue email [email protected].

FYI
If you come across an animal that needs rescue, call the emergency hotline, 917-BIRD. For your own safety and that of the animal members of the public are requested to not attempt to rescue or care for the animal themselves – rather call the hotline and trained volunteers will attend to the animal.

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