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

Trail chamber sources PPE for local businesses

Trail businesses can purchase PPE through their local chamber of commerce

Morning Start: 180 different bird species exist in Kootenay National Park

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 29

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

Powerful thunderstorms called for the West Kootenay this weekend

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday afternoon.

Trail starts water conservation Monday

Restrictions part of municipal commitment to lower water demand

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. tourism seeks relief as businesses wait for COVID-19 restrictions to ease

Mid-June earliest for more in-province travel to be authorized

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

B.C. woman launches First Nations search, rescue and patrol program

Linda Peters envisions trained searchers ready to go at moment’s notice in each B.C. First Nation

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Most Read