Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Pelican’s final journey

During an evening walk at Kukkarahalli Lake everything seemed beautiful as usual until I turned around a corner. The water was full of algae and a pelican was stuck in it unable to fly or reach solid ground.
I have seen how gracefully pelicans swim in water. But this one didn’t seem ok. Its beak and wings were painted green due to the moss. Should I help it, or call someone to pull the bird out, or was it just taking rest? Then it tried to flap its wings, but in vain. I called a journalist friend and a friend at People For Animals (PFA). Both initially thought it was normal for pelicans to stay still for a while when floating but after describing the scene both were convinced and promised help. Minutes later a wing of the Fire department dedicated to rescuing animals reached the gate. I guided the fire engine to the spot. The personnel wasted no time as one of them pushed the bird towards the bank with a branch and another wore a pair of gloves, picked up the bird and placed it on the grass.
By this time a crowd had gathered around thinking we might have found a ‘body.’ Once they realized it was a bird a few lost interest and left. The Fire personnel needed water but everyone was busy clicking pictures. I rushed to nearby tents set up by workers and requested water. A man was kind enough to give a pot of water and another helped carry it. The officers poured water on the tired bird and washed the moss out. However they didn’t know what to do next and had to leave to attend to another call. After 15 minutes the PFA ambulance arrived, picked the bird up and took it along for treatment at their shelter.

The bird was in safe hands. Once back home I got a call from PFA saying the bird was very old and tired. They had given it painkillers and fish and were doing their best to save it.
The next morning I went to PFA’s shelter hoping that the bird would have recovered. My friend there had a different story to tell though. At around 9.30 pm the previous night the bird ate one fish, stood up, tried to flap its wings, but threw up what it had eaten. And sadly it died the same night.
Our only comfort was that it didn’t have to die covered in algae water where it could have been attacked by a crocodile. It had a peaceful death.


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