Community effort helps Western Australian Seabird Rescue save life of raven

Western Australian Seabird Rescue used a net launcher to rescue the raven. Pictures: Gemma Hickey
Western Australian Seabird Rescue used a net launcher to rescue the raven. Pictures: Gemma Hickey

THANKS to the power of social media and technology a bird’s life was saved last week.

Wanneroo resident Dee Tsalis spotted a young Australian raven on her roof on Sunday, August 19 that had its head caught up in a take-away plastic lid preventing it from being able to eat and drink.

Photo: Gemma Hickey

It flew off but she was able to take a photo and post it to several Facebook wildlife pages asking for help, which prompted many animal lovers to look for the bird on Sunday and Monday and attempt to rescue it.

Western Australian Seabird Rescue (WASR) president Halina Burmej also saw the social media post.

“I realised our net launcher could potentially be used,” she said.

“This is a device we have recently acquired that is the size of a large torch which uses a small carbon dioxide cartridge to propel a net about 6m.

“It is perfect for rescuing the more timid species like cormorants and gulls and this bird.”

Western Australian Seabird Rescue used a net launcher to rescue the raven. Photo: Gemma Hickey

She said by the Monday evening, the raven had been found near Lake Joondalup but had still not been caught.

“So two WASR volunteers Graeme and Marlene took the net launcher but unfortunately it was dusk by the time they arrived and the bird wouldn’t come down to the ground,” Dr Burmej said.

“They returned at dawn and after two hours were able to fire the net at the bird.

“Marlene is an experienced wildlife rehabilitator and assessed the bird as okay for release after it was given a little fluid and food.”

Sea Shepherd marine debris campaign coordinator Gemma Hickey, who also attended the days of search and rescue, said it was a reminder to reduce single-use plastic and to dispose of it properly.

“I would also urge people when putting plastic rings or lids in their bins to cut them to stop this happening again,” she said.

Dr Burmej also added that WA was one of the few states that classified the gas-powered net launcher as a firearm.

“This severely restricts its use – to the misfortune of entangled birds,” she said.

“WASR is lobbying to have this changed and hopes more wildlife rescue organisations will obtain a net launcher.”

See www.wasr.org.au or call 0418 952 683 in an emergency.