It was a distressing enough sight for any animal lover. As the visibly troubled pelican perched on a Florida railing in early 2015, a fishing line could easily be seen dangling from its bill. The wire was clearly posing a grave danger – but luckily for the stricken seabird, a quick-thinking onlooker was swift to offer some life-saving assistance.
The ailing bird in question was spotted at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach near Tampa in Florida; a Gulf-of-Mexico resort loved for its great fishing by locals and tourists alike. However, many of its residents fear that discarded angling equipment around the pier could be putting local wildlife at risk. And, indeed, this appeared to be the case in February 2015. This particular pelican had become tangled in a length of old fishing line which had unfortunately wired its bill totally shut, leaving the poor seabird at serious risk of starving to death.
The dramatic rescue operation began on the pier when an anonymous red-shirted man slowly approached the beak-tied bird, taking great care not to frighten it away. A video of the encounter was subsequently uploaded to YouTube, and shows the unwitting pelican swiveling its head towards red-shirt just as he is about to leap forward and grab it. We see the magnificent seabird take wing, but – thankfully – it does not move quickly enough, and the altruistic animal lover is able to snatch at one of its legs as it attempts to fly away.