Surviving Illinois pelican released month after 5 others shot dead

FARMER CITY, Ill. – A surviving American White pelican has been released in central Illinois about a month after a shooting that killed five of the federally protected birds.

The University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic released the pelican Monday near Clinton Lake a few miles west of Farmer City because other pelicans were seen there. The pelican struggled to get out of his cage Monday but emerged and waddled around. The clinic took the pelican after the April 3 shooting at Newton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area.

Veterinarian Sarah Reich says the pelican ate nearly 40 pounds of fish during its stay. She says despite his injuries the pelican “remained as sassy as we could hope for in this species.”

Two Newton teens have been charged in connection with the shooting.