Video: Pelican Rescued From Discarded Fishing Net

For Immediate Release:
November 8, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – PETA received a call this week about a pelican entangled in a discarded fishing net off the coast of Virginia Beach—so the group’s rescue team rushed to the scene with a canoe, met up with Virginia Beach Animal Control Officer Adam Blankenship, and fought against the current to paddle out to the pelican’s side. After careful work, they were able to disentangle the struggling animal from the net wrapped around both wings and safely bring the exhausted bird back to shore. Photos and video footage of the rescue are available here.

Officer Blankenship transported the pelican to Tidewater Rehabilitation & Environmental Education—which previously rehabbed pelicans rescued during Hurricane Dorian—and after a full recovery, the bird will be released back into the bay. Meanwhile, PETA’s rescue team members returned to the massive, tangled fishing net, which they removed, freeing many trapped crabs and fish in the process.

“Thanks to a concerned individual’s call, this pelican was saved from a slow and agonizing death in a fishing net—but countless fish, turtles, crabs, jellyfish, and other seabirds aren’t so lucky,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “Besides being deadly for animals, fishing gear accounts for nearly half of larger debris collected in the Great Pacific Garden Patch, and PETA urges everyone to untangle, wrap up, and dispose of any abandoned lines or nets they see.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview, and more information about abandoned fishing gear is available here.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind