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Injured Cedar Lake pelican bound for Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha

It suffered broken carpal bones, but 'its appetite is good'

An injured pelican swims away from an armada of volunteers in kayaks on Cedar Lake in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday. (Jim Sl
An injured pelican swims away from an armada of volunteers in kayaks on Cedar Lake in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — An injured pelican rescued at Cedar Lake on Wednesday will have a permanent home at one of the top zoos in the Midwest.

“We downloaded all of the paperwork (on Friday), and we want to get it transported (to Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha) within a week,” said Tracy Belle, founder and director of Wildthunder Wildlife and Animal Rehabilitation and Sanctuary in Independence.

“It’s doing well — we’re going to get it outside today to decompress a little.”

Belle, who also serves as primary animal rehabilitator at Wildthunder, believes the pelican is young — the average life span is 20 to 25 years — and she is not sure of its gender.

It suffered broken carpal bones and, according to Belle, surgical repair is unlikely.

“The veterinarian told me that the injury appears to be five to six weeks old,” she said. “I can only speculate, but I think when it flew into the lake, it may have clipped a power line.”

Belle said the pelican will need one more veterinary exam before transport to Omaha. In the meantime, “its appetite is good,” she said. “It’s eating five to 10 pounds of fish per day.”

Henry Doorly is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a typical year, the complex attracts about 2 million visitors.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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