Fishermen beat pelican with oar

injured pelican lg

Fishermen in Frank Sound beat a pelican so badly with an oar, the bird had to be euthanised, officials from the Department of Environment revealed.

Responding to a report from a member of the public, Department of Environment enforcement officer Carl Edwards found the bird washed ashore on Frank Sound beach on 27 February.

“When I found the bird, he was in a bad way,” said Mr. Edwards. “He had a large fishing hook caught in his wing and the wing was obviously broken. I assumed that the bird had become entangled in the heavy-duty line, and damaged himself in the struggle to get free.”

He took the pelican to Island Vet, but the bones in its wing were shattered beyond repair, so the vet euthanised the bird. Both Mr. Edwards and the vet assumed the bird was the victim of a tragic accident.

However, last week, another member of the public contracted Mr. Edwards to report that, on the afternoon the bird washed ashore, two men were seen in a small silver boat out in the sound. The witness said the men had hauled a pelican alongside their boat, and then beat it repeatedly with an oar until it escaped.

When the bird finally managed to free itself and swim away, the witness noticed it was trailing its wing.

“I am a keen fisherman myself. Seabirds taking bits of bait and lures is commonplace, it is something which most fisherman experience and are willing to accept.

“This kind of behaviour is appalling, and displays a total disrespect for our wildlife and the laws which protect it. This callous and illegal act has resulted in the cruel and unnecessary death of a splendid bird,” said Mr. Edwards.

According to the Department of Environment, it was likely this pelican was the same one people commuting from Prospect had been seeing in recent months, perched on top of a CUC pole in the central road reservation.

Pelicans are not uncommon in Cayman, but Mr. Edwards said: “The opportunity to observe one of these magnificent birds so close up is something which has brought a good deal of enjoyment to many people.”

The Department of Environment has been getting an increasing number of calls about injured wildlife since Cayman Wildlife Rescue closed down last year. The Department of Environment has set up a dedicated funding line to receive donations from the public to help with costs for caring for injured animals and birds.


Anyone with information about the attack on the pelican or to make a donation to support the rehabilitation of injured wildlife should call the Department of Environment on 949-8469.

injured pelican

The injured pelican was later euthanised. – PHOTO: SUBMITTED

injured pelican with hook

A large fishing lure was embedded in the pelican’s wing. – PHOTO: SUBMITTED


  1. I took a picture of that bird on the lightpole in the Prospect area. All the drivers could see him as he bowed his head and watch them pass by. Such a magnificent bird!

  2. I wonder how these guys would like getting beat with an oar until one of thier arms was broken..If they would beat a helpless Bird like that no tellng what they would do to a person. It’s really a show of thier character. I hope they find out who they were and punish them correctly.

  3. Once again a report of senseless violence toward a helpless animal (bird). I keep thinking we are getting better about these things and then read something like this that says our society is still backward in how it deals with wildlife to say nothing about dealing with horses, cows, dogs, goats etc. I hope they catch the people who did this but as usual no one will come forward to give out any information and it will go on and on.

  4. How very sad to read the unspeakable cruelty this person used towards a helpless animal. Who or what else will this person beat when things arent going their way? They need to prosecuted to the fullest extent of the Law! Or at the very least, have a taste of what it feels like to have the same thing done to them with an oar!

  5. Here’s what’s really interesting about this — it was discussed on two local radio stations this morning. On CayRock (the Island’s rock station), the DJ was outraged by it, really upset by the acts of animal cruelty, etc. On Vibe (a more local-oriented station), they were kind of laughing about it, talking about the poor fisherman and how this bird must have attacked them, how big a pelican is and how the fisherman were in mortal danger, how these birds often travel in flocks so there may have been multiple birds, how the pelicans try to steal bait, etc.

    Two very different perspectives on the beating of this bird.

  6. I agree with NJ2Cay, there is no telling what these heartless cowards would do to a child, or a woman or even another man? This is unbelievable, and can not be tolerated. Most of us have cell phones with a camera, take pictures, take lots of pictures – this is how the kids who broke into my home a few years ago got caught!

  7. I guess it’s south park hunting rules.

    See a squirrel you yell…..NED he’s coming for me!


    Well jimbo, that was totally justifiable.

  8. I shall be patiently waiting for the results of a highly ambitous law enforcement officer to do what he/she is required to do or should I say what can be demanded they do since they are being paid to do so. Will it happen this time? This was no accident, this was a brutal senseless murder as it turned out to be. Law enforcement officers of any kind have a moral obligation/duty to persue cases like this, regardless of species involved. That is the law as it is written, however seldom, if ever enforced when it comes down to animals and a host of other issues I might add. How much more sad can it get?

  9. I could have cried when I read this story. The men who did this have no heart. If they can beat a helpless beautiful bird like this, then they would do it to a dog, cat or child or spouse. For what — because he was trying to catch a fish — his normal food? The fishermen should both be beaten with an oar until both arms are broken, then thrown in the water and be told to swim to shore. This is profound cruelty what they have done to this poor bird. I hope the government is serious about finding them and the courts give the maximum sentence. They should also have their boat confiscated. Laughing and making jokes about animal cruelty is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

  10. These fishermen who did this showed a complete disdain for nature in the form of this beautiful bird. Abuse of nature is all too common here which calls for strong environmental legislation, which of course will never happen.

  11. On behalf of every driver that admired and loved this bird from afar each morning – my toddler even named him! – I hope to God the guilty party is found and tried and receives the maximum sentence allowed under the pertinent animal protection Laws. Whoever s/he is, has no soul; a simple phone call to Turtle Farm, Botanical Park or any such entity would have solved the problem!

  12. Life in the raw, in modern Cayman. What lovely specimens of humankind we have here, God help us.
    What they do to each other in their drunkenness, lust and greed, they are now also doing to helpless, inoffensive animals, needlessly, carelessly, brutally. God will see that they will reap as they sow, from their own kind.

  13. It amazes me the large number of heartless, unappreciative and stupid people that live on this island. Such a beautiful creature. I observed him (or another like him) a few weeks ago swimming off Hyatt beach and diving for food in the water with no fear of people who were in the water.

  14. Thank goodness my son had already decided this beautiful bird, we looked forward to seeing him/her every morning and evening, must have migrated away from Cayman. I would hate to tell him the truth, and reveal the cruelty of man, although I suspect that if this is discussed at school in the playground or in the classroom, there will by may very upset if not distraught children over this next week. I am not looking forward to the inevitable discussion…. I am heartbroken at this story.

  15. Gosh, Monday mornings! I just noticed this happened almost a month ago and yet no report on any follow up to this day. Well, I am not even going to speculate as to why this is, how convenient!

  16. Ummm .. folks it is just a bird… like you know… chicken, turkey, yum yum yum… And dont tell me you dont eat from kentucky fried chicken every weekend. I guess too they are not senselessly murdered

  17. I hope this beautiful and magnificent creature is flying around happy in Pelican Heaven with a never-ending beak/bill full of fish.

    I hope the fishers who did this are found and punished to the fullest extent of the law. I’d like to see how well off they are hungry, and beaten with an oar.

  18. This is a sad, cruel and misguided act. While I can maybe understand the fishermen’s frustration with having a pelican take their bait and mess up their fishing, it does not excuse the response!
    By the way, I am also very familiar with our pole-sitting pelican. That bird is/was a juvenile (with a dark head) while the bird pictured is an adult (cream head). I think our pole-sitter may still be alive! Hope so…

  19. In reply to Apprentice: I know this is not a blog but just to let you know that you most likely have no idea what happens to turkey’s, chickens, pigs and cows etc. before they end up on your plate. I dare you to visit a farm/slaughterhouse and witness the extreme cruelty/murder that goes on in there. Hell, you may end up like being like me, a vegetarian.

  20. @ Animalliberator – I am not a vegetarian. The doctor says I need to eat meat in order to maintain good blood levels, because with a fast matabolism, I can easily become anemic. You dont have to mention to me about animal cruelty. I know what goes on in those animal concentration camps. I know about the 600 dog farms they have in South Korea alone. Dog meat up there is their Beef! In these farms they slaughter dogs every day. So I know the cruelty.

    But I am honest. I am not going to play the hypocrit like the rest of the commenters here and condemn fishermen for beating a pelican to death, because we do worse, we eat them, and promote what I call animal concentration camps-for-profit. And yes, eat fish from these same fishermen when we buy fish from the supermarket or eat them at our local restaurants.

    We live in a dog-eat-dog-world, me friend.

    My respects to you for being a vegetarian. I hope one day to gravtitate towards being a pure vegetarian without the negative repercussions on my health.

  21. A law needs to be passed in the Cayman Islands to protect pelicans and other birds from thoughtless, cruel actions by people. What a shame Cayman Wildlife Rescue has closed down. It was doing such a brilliant job! These cruel men need to be taught a lesson to stop terrible acts like this happening. If they treat a pelican in such a cruel manner how are they going to treat their family and friends? What will tourists and foreigners think of this dreadful treatment of wildlife in the Cayman Islands?

  22. Apprectice: On a final note here: My full respect for your opinion and life style, I have no problem with it at all. My beef was that if one says; It’s only a bird, or a chicken, whatever, made it sound as if you have no regard for animal life in general and provides the impression that it’s ok to kill anything besides humans for whatever reason comes to mind. This particular pelican was not killed for reasons to comsume it, it was pure brutal arrogance and ignorance for denying it some food. Perhaps if we would stop attemting to domesticate wildlife because it is so much fun to do, we can then easily expect an animal to return to his or hers man created feeding grounds if you will. I just wish the general populus could come up with some more respect for all those animals that usually feed of nature in the raw and leave them alone for all the right reasons.

    Other then that, I wish you well!

  23. Why no comments from our politicians – as far as I can see. They’re usually ready – why not on this issue? Oh, of course, pelicans don’t have a vote. But animal lovers do…..

  24. Apprentice uses a weak shift of argument to allow these brutal fisherman to beat a bird for no reason other than that they can. It is the behavior of a bully. I would be less offended if the fishermen would have eaten the bird. Only then would Apprentice’s argument make any sense.

  25. This was indeed a despicable act by these fishermen and totally unexcusable.

    The only logical reason I can think of why they might have done this is because they saw the bird as competition for the fish they were trying to catch, pelicans being the superb fishers that they are.

    Maybe the men felt the pelican was catching ‘their’ fish or scaring them away.

    With the CI Govt. sending such mixed messages on conservation and protection of the environment, its no wonder that such attitudes exist.

    If there are no protection laws for Cayman’s wildlife, some people will see no reason to act any other way.

  26. This has to be one of the most disturbing things that I’ve read in some time. So much so, I was brought to tears. I am currently in the midst of pursuing work opportunities in the Cayman Islands and when asked why I would like to move there, I always have the same response, because the people are incredible.

    This kind of behavior is indicative of only a select few…but still doesn’t make this an easier pill to swallow.

    In both religion and modern psychology, we know that there is a link between how people treat animals and the way they treat human beings. Having said that, this kind of violent behaviour should be treated with the same respect as we would treat this kind of malicious attack on another person.

    A zero tolerance message needs to be promoted and strongly defended to deter and prevent any future acts of such cruelty.

    I would very much like to see officials do the right thing and step up on this matter!

  27. American Soldier kills 17 Afghan women and children while they sleep and headlines read; Most would like soldier to be given a break.

    Shiver me timbers and pass the grog! those fishermen must be shivering in their skivvies, the lynch mob is coming for YA for what you did to old salty. While an accused killer take solace in his support.

  28. Cayman-on-guard must be hitting the grog to compare a soldier who snaps in a war zone and murders to a couple of fishermen in a boat off Grand Cayman Island who beat a pelican with an oar. Again people want to shift the argument to excuse this ignorant and brutal behavior. Face it they have no excuse.

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