California Pelican's Bent Beak Bent No More Thanks to First Emergency Surgery

The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach is cheering the success of the first surgery to repair the bent beak of an American White Pelican whose jaw was out of alignment.

When the call came in about “Nigel,” as the Pelican has been nicknamed, it had lost weight, its wing was tangled in fishing line and lure, and his pouch had been ripped by a fishing hook.

Veterinary surgeon Marcos Unis of the VCA All-Care Animal Referral Center
was brought in to help, and it was decided surgery was necessary Sunday.

Through a procedure never tried before, Unis realigned Nigel's jaw with acrylic cement and stainless-steel, surgical bone screws.

Normally, a pelican in such sorry shape would have been put down, Unis confided to ABC News. Now, Nigel's back to eating up to 10 pounds. of fish a day, and Unis hopes to use the procedure on other birds.

The veterinary surgeon added that if people were more careful about disposing of fishing lines, such procedures would not be necessary.

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