Australian Marine Wildlife Research & Rescue Organisation – AMWRRO

Australian Marine Wildlife Research & Rescue Organisation (AMWRRO), providing a rescue and rehabilitation service for our incredibly unique Australian marine wildlife species.

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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.

Another Little Penguin fall’s victim to dogs running free

Little Penguin Amber now able to open her eyes

Little Penguin Amber now able to open her eyes

At 07:30 today AMWRRO was notified by the South Australian Police that a Little Penguin was found at Middleton beach in need of help. The bird was very unsteady on its feet and was disorientated.

The bird was housed at a local address whilst a rescue crew attended to collect the bird.

On admission the bird was unable to open its eyes due to a heavy load of sand that was caked on by blood; once cleaned the full extent of her injuries were revealed. The young female had several open wounds covering her head and around her eyes caused by a dog attack.

Unfortunately this is something seen all too often at AMWRRO, this year we have recorded over 22 penguins maimed by off leash dogs and these are the lucky ones.

AMWRRO suspects hundreds more would fall victim each year but are never found or, are killed either by the dog itself or by savaging foxes whilst hiding in sand dunes at night.

This Little Penguin has been named Amber and she is finally recovering from her ordeal but is still in a critical condition.

Young, sick and mauled by a wolfhound off lead…

Lachie resting at AMWRRO after treatment

Lachie resting at AMWRRO after treatment

A young sick Australian sea lion that hauled out and was found sleeping in the middle of a road at The Bluff (Victor Harbor) was mauled by a Wolfhound that was let off lead to have a run despite being told there was a young seal on the road.

This young male Australian sea lions named Lachie is now recovering from the attack which occurred on Friday afternoon. There were several unfortunate circumstances that led to the animal being returned to the water by order of local authorities despite personnel on ground having very straight forward instructions to leave the animal where it was; which delayed the animal receiving care much sooner. 

Luckily for Lachie he was rescued late Friday night and is currently stable. Flippers crossed he will pull through.