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Escaped Blackpool Pelican Captured And Returned To Zoo

Blackpool Zoo keepers travelled to Hay-a-Park Gravel Pits Waters in Knaresborough in North Yorkshire yesterday (Wednesday 23rd August) and successfully rescued and returned the pelican to the Zoo during the evening.

A Blackpool Zoo spokesperson has today (Thursday 24th August) announced, ‘ We are delighted that the Eastern white pelican has been found safe and well.

Positive sightings were reported at Hay-a-Park Gravel Pits waters in Knaresborough in North Yorkshire on the afternoon of Wednesday, 23rd August. Keepers travelled from Blackpool to the site before successfully rescuing and returning the pelican.

We have worked with avian experts as well as other organisations and agencies across the UK in our continued, round-the-clock efforts since it went missing on Friday, 4th August.

A 24-hour hotline was set up and manned for the entirety of the search, and keepers were called out at all hours, quickly responding to sightings at a moment’s notice.

Our dedicated keepers have worked incredibly hard and were thrilled to bring the pelican home to Blackpool Zoo on Wednesday evening.

It was extremely important for us to rescue this pelican and return it to its flock as they are very social birds and, as a non-native species, it needed to be back with its own kind.

Confirmed sightings have come from as near to home as Lytham and Fleetwood, to as far away as Harrogate and, where it was eventually rescued, in Knaresborough.

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.

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

We have 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.

On behalf of everyone at the zoo, we would like to sincerely thank the public for their invaluable help in this search.

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.

Particular thanks go to a wonderful family in Knaresborough who saw keepers trying to reach the pelican in the lake on Wednesday and brought a kayak for them to use – without their kind gesture and support, the rescue would not have been possible.

We would also like to thank all the other organisations and media that helped to bring our pelican home.

We look forward to seeing it out and about on pelican lake with the rest of its family soon, and we are sure that, now it is a local celebrity, lots of people will want to come and see it!’

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