Coast Guard members help rescue injured pelican

Service members from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles rescued a pelican in distress near Kiptopeke State Park in Cape Charles, Virginia, Oct. 10, 2020. The Coast Guard worked alongside members from Wildlife ER, a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center. Photo courtesy of Wildlife ER.

Service members from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles rescued a pelican in distress near Kiptopeke State Park in Cape Charles, Virginia, Oct. 10, 2020. Photo courtesy of Wildlife ER.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources rescued a pelican in distress near Kiptopeke State Park in Cape Charles, Virginia, Saturday.

Coast Guard Station Cape Charles watchstanders received a call at approximately 9:45 a.m. from a representative from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries reporting that a pelican had been observed in obvious distress on a cement ship near Kiptopeke State Park. The station officer of the day launched a boatcrew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium with a wildlife rehabilitation specialist aboard.

After arriving on scene, the crew located the pelican, transferred it to a cage and brought it to shore for rehabilitation.

“It happened pretty quick,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Hurd, officer of the day for Station Cape Charles. “It took about 10 minutes from hopping off the boat to bringing the bird aboard. It had gotten its wing stuck in the rebar of the cement ship, but we were able to bend that back and free it.”

The pelican is resting comfortably after a brief surgical procedure. The rehabilitation specialist the Coast Guard brought out to the scene is happy with the outcome.

“I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday than helping save the life of that pelican,” said Jody Sokel, a wildlife rehabilitation specialist with Wildlife ER.

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