Blackpool Zoo: Missing pelican found 65 miles away

A pelican that went missing after being scared by gulls and then blown away by a gust of wind has been rescued.

The bird was found in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, about 65 miles from its home at Blackpool Zoo in Lancashire.

The Eastern white pelican has been missing since 4 August.

Blackpool Zoo said it wanted to thank the public who had provided “invaluable help” during the search and reported various sightings.

“Many went above and beyond to assist by sending pictures, videos and exact coordinates of sightings, going back to locations to keep watch for hours on end and even bringing food for keepers when they were responding to calls,” a zoo spokeswoman said.

Zookeepers found the pelican at Hay-a-Park Gravel Pits waters after setting up a 24-hour hotline to find the bird.

Confirmed sightings have come from Lytham and Fleetwood and as far away as Harrogate.

Missing pelican

Anyone who spotted the pelican was asked to contact the zoo

The zoo spokeswoman said it was “extremely important” to return the pelican to its flock as they were “very social birds and, as a non-native species, it needed to be back with its own kind”.

“The pelican is now in our animal hospital where it has been given a full health check, had its wings clipped and will be quarantined before being returned to the flock in the near future,” she said.

“Pelicans are beautiful, docile creatures and there was never any threat to the public.

“Blackpool Zoo has housed this magnificent species for many years and we are the only collection in the UK to have successfully bred them, which makes the youngster’s return even more special.”

In April, the zoo advertised for “seagull deterrents”, a role which would see successful applicants dressed up in bird costumes to scare away the nuisance birds.

It later said almost 200 people had applied for the roles.

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