Sanccob intern Aidan Bellingan and bird rehabilitator Curtly Ambrose assessing the wing of the injured pelican. SUPPLIED
Sanccob intern Aidan Bellingan and bird rehabilitator Curtly Ambrose assessing the wing of the injured pelican. SUPPLIED

Tips to take injured wild birds under your wing

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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THANDILE KONCO

Animal lover Roger Gladwell made headlines earlier this month for rescuing an injured pelican, reminding us of the importance of being kind to animals.

He pulled over on the N7 when he saw the injured bird.

"The bird is very big and each time I tried to approach it, it would launch itself at me flapping its wings, poking with its huge jaws. It would try to attack me, snapping its jaws. A fellow came and tried to help me subdue it."

Gladwell said they tried to catch the bird, but it ran into the road, stopping traffic.

"Eventually a police van came and stopped along with a metro police car and helped to capture the bird. We used a rope, looped it around its neck. A random woman came by and asked to take the bird home but we insisted it needed to be taken to Sanccob straight away."

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (Sanccob) Seabirds Rehabilitation Centre took the bird in and vet Meriza van den Berg said that the pelican had only sustained a minor injury to the leg during the incident.

“We did X-rays which showed that he did have an old fracture in a bone in his wing. Our tests show that he is in perfect shape to now be released into a marsh area nearby.”

Should you see a bird in distress, injured or in an unsafe environment, you can contact Sanccob on their 24-hour contact number and help will be sent. The organisation has a team of first responders trained to professionally handle wild birds all along the coast. When a call is made, the closest responder will be dispatched or a vehicle will be sent to take the bird to their facility.

Marine wildlife management programme co-ordinator, Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, Brett Glasby, said: “We have a responsibility as humans to care for wild animals when they are in need”.

He said that every year pelicans migrate from the lands across the N7 and it isn't uncommon for wildlife to enter urban spaces, which causes conflict.

’’When you see an injured animal, please keep an eye on the animal until help arrives. This way, the rescue team can get it the help it needs, quickly.

“When you do see an animal in need, especially a wild animal, do not approach it as it’s in a state of panic or in pain. In this state, they’re dangerous and defensive. Alert law enforcement or local animal rescue teams and they will know best what to do.”

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