While we all enjoy our wonderful shores it is also a favorite habitat for pelicans, other shore birds and marine mammals. Pelicans are very social birds so finding a lone individual is generally an indication that something is wrong. This is what happened last week with a solitary pelican found along the Portarlington foreshore.
A thoughtful holidaymaker mentioned to staff from Bellarine Bayside that it had been in the same spot for a few hours and had not moved. Staff decided to call in a local wildlife rescue centre, which decided to capture it for further assessment.
Unfortunately the pelican did not make it through its first night of care.
After an autopsy, it was found that the stomach had no food in it, but instead had at least six plastic shopping bags in its gut. The rescue centre revealed that some pelicans have also been found with 6-7 metres of fishing line behind them, towing a fishing rod and unable to fly.
Bellarine Bayside is an active participant in the ‘Seal the Loop Program’ to help reduce the impact of litter. It specifically targets marine litter and its impact on thousands of marine birds, mammals, reptiles and fish, which die or are injured each year due to plastic waste and discarded fishing line.
We can all help by disposing of litter appropriately along our coast. Use the bins provided, or take it back home or to your camp site. Better yet, avoid plastic bags, BYO drink containers, and avoid disposables. When fishing or boating, please do not use the ocean as a bin.
Less waste reduces our impact on marine life, which can only enhance and enrich the foreshore experience for people and animals alike.
If you see any possibly distressed animals please call Bellarine Bayside on 5259 3311.
Pictured below, some happier pelicans at Indented Head last week.