Pelicans in trouble on the South Coast

SEABIRDS in particular pelicans are increasingly getting into trouble on the Far South Coast but now locals can get trained to help with rescues.

The Australian Seabird Rescue group will host a training workshop in Narooma later this month.

Each year thousands of holiday makers flock to the beautiful beaches and water ways of the South Coast to enjoy their time fishing, swimming and frolicking in the surf.

Unfortunately though, many of these holiday makers do not have a good knowledge of safe recreational fishing practices.

As a result of unsafe recreational fishing, hundreds of sea, shore and water birds, are injured, particularly pelicans.

As pelicans are opportunist feeders, and are commonly found around fishing tables and boat ramps, they are prime candidates for discarded fishing tackle injuries.

Let's face it; humans do occasionally feed wildlife as it meets our own need to feel good.

Australian Seabird Rescue founder Julie Dunn is also a senior trainer and was recently in Narooma and Bermagui to capture several injured pelicans with hook and line entanglements.

“If we hadn't of captured these two birds, they would of died of terrible injuries,” Julie said.

“Hooks don't rust away, they kill the bird, and line entanglement can mean that the bird will lose a leg or wing, making it a slow agonising death.

“These majestic creatures make look beautiful, clean and white, but they can hide a multitude of hooks that go undetected to the untrained eye. “Pollution, toxin poisoning and boat strikes also have increased with deaths of birds, and we need to ensure that not only pelicans but all of our coastal wildlife is protected.

“People don't realise that by throwing their old fish scraps and other food out can cause food poisoning with birds, just like humans.

The ASR South Coast branch rescues hundreds of pelicans and seabirds each year.

The vast majority of these birds are rescued, rehabilitated and released, but also there are many that do not make it.

Seabird Rescue has been rescuing and rehabilitating pelicans, seabirds and other shorebirds for more than 20 years and its success has been as a result of valued committed volunteers.

To ensure that there are people who are available and trained in capturing injured and sick birds, ASR South Coast will be conducting a workshop on Saturday, February 22 at Narooma.

The workshop will cover how to capture birds that are sick and injured, along with performing emergency first aid in the field, rehabilitating and releasing birds.

Presenter Julie Dunn has 20 years of experience working with wildlife and as a wildlife vet nurse she has a wealth of knowledge.

She recently completed around Australia road trip where she conducted numerous workshops and training to various wildlife groups in the NT and Western Australia.

Julie prefers to work with a small group so numbers will be limited.

She does promise a great day, and an opportunity to get up close and personal with the birds.

The workshop is open to anyone who has an interest in reducing the human impact on coastal wildlife.

Direct all workshop enquiries, and also reports of injured pelicans and seabirds, to the ASR South Coast hotline on 0431 282 238.

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