Hooray, Pink the formerly mutilated brown pelican was released on Tuesday, June 3rd, and flew back to his pelican compatriots in the wild! Before being released, he was banded with a blue band printed with V70 on it, this is to help identify him in the wild as part of International Bird Rescue’s Blue-Banded Pelican Program, which was established to better track the success of released pelicans. (For those of you who read my last post, you will appreciate the irony of the blue band as it relates to my mistaken assumption of the bird’s gender based on human color and gender associations.)
While this story has a happy ending, the case of whodunit remains open. According to International Bird Rescue’s website, a $20,000 reward is still being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for mutilating Pink. Tips may be made anonymously to US Fish and Wildlife Service at 310-328-1516.
In the end, the actions of those who did this had the opposite effect of what was intended. Pink survived the severely slashed pouch wound, the community rallied to support his recovery and now more people than ever are aware of the plight of pelicans at the hands of humans. It will be much tougher to get away with such a heinous act again…bird lovers everywhere are watching.