Pely the pelican, all healed up and ready for the world, has been released back into the wilds of Manitoba after a six-month stay at Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) in Metchosin.
On Friday, June 8, Pely boarded a plane to Winnipeg to be released back into the wild where she was found, near Île-des-Chênes, Manitoba. Pely recovered from parasites, infections and general malnourishment.
The centre waited until the summer for the release to give Pely plenty of time to eat, exercise and get ready for the next winter.
“She’s doing great now. Her weight is back up, she looks great,” said senior wildlife rehabilitator Christina Carrieres. “It’s really exciting that she gets to go back.”
Pely, who is three years old, was found in November in the middle of the cold Manitoba winter.
Normally pelicans would have migrated by then but Pely was found with five other pelicans who had not headed south.
One of the other pelicans had already died, and all the others had to be euthanized due to injuries.
The Manitoba rehabilitation centre sent Pely to Wild ARC because of its facilities for a bird of Pely’s size, which include a large flight pen and bathing pool.
Carrieres said that although she is happy that Pely is healthy and healed, it’s always hard to let go.
“It’s a mix feeling. You care for those animals for so many months, but at the same time it’s great to see them go,” Carrieres said. “We’ll miss her being around, obviously, but really happy that she’s going.”
Pely’s friend, a brown pelican with no name, is also being released soon off the coast of Metchosin. He was found in Prince Rupert and brought to Wild ARC in April. He had been attacked by crows and had cuts and frostbite on his feet. He has lost some ends of toes, but is otherwise up to full health. He came to Wild ARC to recover and also to keep Pely company, as pelicans are flock birds and get lonely on their own.