Pelican rescue and rehabilitation
2010-05-10: On the 28/02/2010, villagers who went fishing at Ang Tropeang Thmor in Banteay Meanchey Province found an injured Spot-billed Pelican, a rare species of large waterbird. The juvenile bird was handed over to officials of the Forestry Administration and staff of WCS. Subsequently, FA contacted the ACCB who came to pick up the bird.
The bird had an infection in both eyes and had become completely blind, and therefore could not fly or find food any more, lost weight and had become very weak. The bird was kept at the quarantine station at ACCB in a large room with a pool and the eye infection was treated. The bird had to be fed and watered by hand until it started to see again a little bit and so was able to take dead fish from a shallow food dish. After four weeks the bird had recovered so well that it was able to catch live fish from the pool and started to fly again. It was kept for another three weeks to make sure that the infection does not recur and the bird will stay strong enough to be released.
The bird was marked with a silver leg band and on the 22/04/2010 it was taken back to ATT and released. Staff of ACCB, WCS, FA, commune council and police were present. The release was done in a way to avoid stressing the bird, by just opening the door of the transport box. Thus, the bird was able to slowly step out of the box and look around and orient itself before taking off. It flew well and will hopefully stay or return to ATT to breed.