Laughter fits bill in rescue

Geoff VivianMidwest Times

Several women rescued an injured pelican from Walkaway Skate Park in November.

“Pelicans have lice the size of mud crabs — freaking huge, like they are on steroids,” one of the women, Julieanne Gallagher, said.

“We pulled up in the carpark and started gas bagging with a few of the other mums.”

“Tania Cosgrove said ‘think there’s a pelican in the carpark’.

“Tamala Bailey said: ‘I think you are suffering from the effects of a bit of late night, seeing pelicans at the skate park’.”

After some investigation, the children saw an injured pelican and Mrs Gallagher said the others “volunteered” her to catch it.

Mrs Gallagher said the “fun” began when Mrs Bailey drove her and their four children and the pelican to Greenough Wildlife Park.

“We started driving and the lice started crawling all over me,” Mrs Gallagher said.

“The pelican freed its wing and slapped the driver in the face.”

Mrs Bailey, the driver, told Mrs Gallagher to “suck it up” and “take one for the team”.

“The kids were laughing and the little kindy kid was singing ‘snowflake snowflake’ all the way,” Mrs Gallagher said. “I don’t know who had the most interesting trip, us or the pelican.”

Wildlife rescuer and park owner Michelle Jones said she thought the bird’s leg wounds came from buckshot, before she noticed bite marks on its breast indicating a dog attack.

“I took it straight to Sanford Veterinary Clinic,” she said.

“Dr Katy examined it and put it on courses of antibiotics and pain relief.

“It is now rehabilitating under my care and doing really well and we are hoping to release it.”

Ms Jones said cats and dogs caused about 85 per cent of cases she attended.

“It is imperative that in a place where wildlife is, we keep our domestic pets on a leash and not allow them to harass Australian wildlife,” she said.

People finding injured wildlife may call WA Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055. Mrs Gallagher said she later found the giant lice had left her unscathed.

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