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Pelican Rescue – Beyond the Call of Duty

by Rob Stokes on 16 Oct 2013
Pittwater’s Boating Safety Officers logo Roads and Maritime Services (RMS)
A crowd gathered for a community event at Pittwater got more than they bargained for when a Roads and Maritime Services Boating Safety Officer (BSO) demonstrated his commitment to helping the marine community recently.

BSOs Daniel Duemmer and Mark Raward were at Rowland Reserve boat ramp educating boaters about the importance of carrying key safety equipment and being prepared for the new boating season when they were alerted to a pelican in trouble.

'We looked up at the light pole and could see a pelican in distress with a fishing line hanging off its leg,' BSO Duemmer said.

'Mark loves animals and immediately dialed the Australian Seabird Rescue . The lady told him he needed to catch it in order to help it but there were two other pelicans in the area which made it hard for Mark to get close.

'A fishing boat arrived at the wharf and saw we were trying to coax down the pelican. They gave us a heap of old pilchards they had been using as bait so we started feeding the other two to get them away.

'I was back interviewing boaters when the next thing I knew, Mark jumped into the water fully clothed to try to grab the pelican. He touched it but didn’t quite get it.

'Mark then spent a good while coaxing the pelican in using the bait. The next time I looked up, he was following it around the beach.

'Before long he had the massive pelican in his arms and was walking down the beach in the grass to the boat ramp. It was a sight for sore eyes.

'He had jumped on top of it and grabbed it and held it by its beak and body as advised by Australian Seabird Rescue.

'He carried the pelican back to the picnic table and while he held it I cut off two fishing hooks - one in its foot and one in its leg and a whole heap of fishing line wrapped really tightly around its leg.

'The whole time, the pelican just sat there very calmly. I had to feed the hooks back through the puncture wound because they had barbs.

'We then rang seabird rescue again and were advised to check for signs of infection and any heat around the leg. It seemed okay so Mark walked it down to the water and released it.

'By this stage there was a fair crowd who cheered and clapped.

'BSO work can be quite diverse but this effort took helping out the maritime community to a new level,' BSO Duemmer said.

Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes said the event displayed the well trained skills and dedication of Pittwater’s Boating Safety Officers.

'This takes the practical demonstrations provided by our local boating safety officers to the next level,' Rob Stokes said.

'This was a great result which had the two-fold effect of assisting one of Pittwater’s iconic pelicans and providing a textbook example of what to do in this all too common situation.

'Thank you to all those involved,' Rob Stokes said.
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