Release! Pink the Pelican

L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino releases Pink. Photos and video by Bill Steinkamp and Kira Perov (volume adjustment on lower right of video control panel)

Pink, a California Brown Pelican and now arguably one of the most famous patients in International Bird Rescue history, was successfully released on Tuesday afternoon at White Point Park in San Pedro, CA, by L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino, assisted by a lovely young girl excited to see the bird off on its next adventures.

As you may have read, less than seven weeks ago this animal was brought to our Los Angeles center with its throat pouch nearly severed off its bill. A human-caused injury, the incident sparked outrage among animal lovers in Southern California and beyond. A $20,000 reward is still being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this illegal act. Tips may be made anonymous to US Fish and Wildlife Service at 310-328-1516.

Thank you to everyone who helped support the care of this bird, including the Port of Long Beach, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, Terranea Resort and countless bird lovers in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the country.

After two surgeries and weeks in care, this pelican made a record recovery and was very eager for release from our large pelican aviary. As part of our Blue-Banded Pelican Program, we banded Pink with a blue band reading V70. If you see Pink out along the Pacific Coast, you can report your sighting here.

Releases are always powerful experiences that cut through the madness of modern life. International Bird Rescue’s “Every Bird Matters” mantra was definitely the theme of the day. Photographer Bill Steinkamp was on hand to take some wonderful photos of the event. Enjoy!



Pink IMG_8820-L

Pink IMG_8826-L

\Pink IMG_8828-L

Pink IMG_8847-L

4 thoughts on “Release! Pink the Pelican”

  1. Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in saving this tortured creature, those who have posted rewards for the capture and punishment of his tormentor (a fitting penalty IMHO, would be to attach his esophagus to his anal sphincter, so his food cannot get into his body- let the punishment fit the crime!)
    Or just take him out to the Channel Islands and feed him to a Great White! I realize that ‘revenge’ is not ‘justice’, but this kind of gene pool should be abated before it continues to proliferate.

    Thanks again to the heroes, who take every life seriously. I am sure that “Pink” is very aware of what happened to him, and who fixed him, and gave him back to life and the world.

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress, can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~ Gandhi

  2. This was a thoughtful article, I’m happy I chanced upon it and I’ll certainly be back to see what other readers have to say regards the matter. Again, thanks.

  3. Some time in the 1960’s I and a crew of people were diving at Cape San Lucas. It was then a very small town with a large cannery pier. One day a pelican landed on the steering wheel of a small boat tied along side our ship. It was quickly noticed that he had a long tear in his pouch. A plan was hatched to 1) capture the bird while, 2) others sought out waxed twine and 3) a sail mending needle! Once caught the bird was held tightly and a repair was undertaken. Once completed with a very fine, part to part, alignment several small fish were provided down the gullet and the bird was released. Instead of scrambling quickly away the bird stood amongst those in attendance who were sitting on the deck. For about 5 minutes then slowly walked to the side of the ship hopped on the railing and left. The people that performed this rescue were Andre Laban, Falco, Robert Dill, James Stewart, some others not now remembered, and myself. If you don’t recognize the names look them up. You will be quite interested to learn who they were! Neil Marshall

  4. “A job well done is its own reward”, I was taught. And “A noble job well done is a star in your crown.”

    There is no job more noble than helping save a life. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Comments are closed.