News

Attack of the killer pelicans – or have they been trained to do this?

AMWRRO is currently caring for one of several pelicans that have caused some concern at the River Torrens in Adelaide’s CBD by snatching people’s lunch out of their hands.

Despite what some may say, this is no fault of the pelicans as these birds are opportunistic feeders and those people that continue to feed them have unfortunately caused this problem (albeit with good intentions).  Everyone must understand that these are wild animals and must be left to fend for themselves as oppose to relying on people for free “hand outs” and therefore, allowing the birds to think that everyone will just hand them food.

People feeding Pelicans bread at the River Torrens Adelaide CBD.

People feeding Pelicans bread at the River Torrens Adelaide CBD.

Unfortunately the food in which the birds are fed (bread and other human foods) is of poor nutritional value and can cause long term complications for the animals. This includes ducks, swans and other water birds that have become “imprinted” by well-intended people who feed them and who teach children to do the same.

The bottom line is; if it doesn’t belong to you, don’t feed it.  You will only cause the animal harm in the long run and even death in some cases. 

One adult male pelican was captured earlier today and has been introduced to other in-care pelicans at AMWRRO Wetland Facility on Torrens Island where is will undergo rehabilitation before being released back into the wild at a new location.

Pelicans most at risk from fishing tackle injuries

Amelia's stomach showing two ganged hooks.

Amelia’s stomach showing two ganged hooks.

South Australia’s recreational fishermen are more likely to snag pelicans than any other marine birds, who are often the victim of fishing line and hook entanglements, according to new research.

Fishermen are being warned to be more aware of the risks to seabirds and to report any injuries as soon as possible.

A study of 113 seabirds treated over a six-year period for 132 fishing-related injuries has been conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide’s School of Medical Sciences and the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation (AMWRRO).

They’ve found that, contrary to public belief, “live” tackle being used by fishermen is resulting in the bird injuries, not tackle that’s been thrown away.

The results of the study are now published in the International Journal of Veterinary Health Science & Research.

“Discarded fishing lines have often been attributed as the cause of injury to wild birds living along coastal and river regions, but until now there’s been nothing to show how widespread the problem is or why it’s happening,” says the University’s Professor Roger Byard AO, from the School of Medical Sciences.

“Regular removal of discarded fishing gear along the coast has seen no reduction in the number of entangled or hooked seabirds, so we believe that these injuries are occurring because the birds are getting too close to active recreational fishing.”

Pelicans were involved in more than 59% of cases, with gulls, plovers and banded stilts among the other most commonly affected seabirds.

Entanglement and/or embedded hooks were the cause of injury in 97% of pelican cases, with only 3% involving ingestion of hooks.

AMWRRO President Aaron Machado says: “By raising awareness of this issue, we’re hoping to educate fishermen about the risks to wildlife, so they can become more aware of those risks, to mitigate them, and to report them as soon as cases arise.

“The sooner we know about a bird that’s been tangled, the sooner we can provide help. This isn’t about pointing the finger and blaming fishermen, it’s about helping them to have an incident-free fishing experience and to protect the natural marine bird life.”

Injured seabirds should be reported as soon as possible to AMWRRO on: 08 8262 5452.

Is this a breach of the Animal Welfare Act 1985? You be the judge.

An adult male Australian sea lion weighing in at over 100kg and one of the world’s rarest seals is shot by a Department for Environment Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) – National Parks Officers with a .22 CALIBER RIFLE and is then able to “flee” back to the ocean’s high tide line!   

DEWNR Officers once again refused to make the call to AMWRRO for assistance, instead, take to an animal weighing over 100kg with a .22 caliber rifle that is used to shoot animals the size of rabbits!

Is this a breach of the Animal Welfare Act 1985 – the same Act DEWNR is also responsible for implementing on ground; you be the judge!

This Australian sea lion was found sleeping on a resident’s front lawn in the Port MacDonnell Township.  AMWRRO was contacted for advice and images were sent to AMWRRO as requested.  AMWRRO officials explained to the caller that these animals will often find quiet places to sleep for several days before heading back to the ocean to feed. It was explained that the animal looked somewhat thin but by no means emaciated (going by the images that were sent to us).

Large male Australian sea lion sleeping on the grass before being shot

The large male Australian sea lion sleeping on the grass before being shot by DEWNR

AMWRRO contacted DEWNR Officers in the region and requested they attend and confirm the animal was in good health and if not, to contact AMWRRO if the animal required any assistance.

Word soon got out in the town and within an hour many locals went to see the animal for themselves, some of which took a few photos before leaving the animal to rest. 

Several hours later AMWRRO received the terrible news that was witnessed by a shocked local who watched from a distance while the DEWNR – National Parks Officers approached the large male and shot him in the back of the head with a .22 caliber rifle!

Once shot the animal started “running” towards the ocean whist in pursuit by the National Parks Officers. 

Now realizing the animal could most definitely reach the ocean before dying the National Parks Officer contacted Police for much needed assistance.

The animal having already been shot once now waited approximately 45 minutes in extreme pain before being shot two more times with an appropriately powered firearm that ultimately ended his life.

This all taking place within meters of the animal swimming off and dying an extremely slow and painful death by bleeding out in the ocean.

AMWRRO never received a call back by DEWNR Officers once they had inspected the animals’ condition as initially requested.

When questioning a DEWNR Director about this incident recently the subject was soon changed and AMWRRO’s concerns disregarded.