“He occasionally follows us around and even attempts to converse with us.” 😍💞
Omar El Oud was fishing with his father when he noticed a huge white bird floating in the lake. As they approached, they discovered it was a stranded pelican in desperate need of assistance.
“When we initially found Ovi, he was bleeding from a wound on his leg, and we saw his flying feathers were missing, as well as him being incredibly unclean,” El Oud told us. “We subsequently found out he had a fever.”
They returned the pelican to the shore, and El Oud learned how to care for the bird. They were able to bring Ovi back to health with the assistance of the animal rehabilitation organization Lebanese Wildlife.
El Oud used positive reinforcement to train Ovi so that he could better care for him, and Ovi rapidly caught on. “When he behaved properly, I’d give him a fish; when he didn’t, I’d simply ignore it,” El Oud said. “In less than a day, he transformed into a really friendly bird toward me.” [He’s] a highly clever animal.”
Unfortunately, Ovi could no longer fly large distances since his flying feathers had been removed by illegal wildlife smugglers. Fortunately, he was already in an ideal position to regain his strength.
Ali, El Oud’s father, is the manager of Beirut’s coastal restaurant Abou Mounir Fishery. Ali was confident that Ovi would be secure at the marina, where the family is well-liked by the residents and fisherman. Protecting and caring for Ovi quickly became a collaborative effort.
El Oud fed Ovi around the port until the pelican figured out where the fish were coming from and became the restaurant’s most loyal patron.
Ovi now waddles into the packed café many times a day for a snack. “Basically, he hangs out down from the restaurant and does whatever he wants,” El Oud explained. “However, if he’s hungry and wants something to eat, he’ll come up by himself since he realizes that’s where the food is coming from.”
Ovi ignores the most of the people at the marina, but he has developed a unique affinity with El Oud and his father. He enjoys having his back and chest scratched, but only by those he trusts. “He occasionally follows us around and even attempts to communicate with us vocally,” El Oud said.
Ovi is healthy and satisfied with his life in the marina a year after his rescue, but El Oud wishes people had never interfered with him so he could have stayed wild.
“Things like this should never have happened,” El Oud remarked. “Ovi should not have been in this situation, but regrettably, regulations governing Lebanese birds are not adequately implemented.”
Ovi has become a mascot for the restaurant, but the family hopes he may also serve as a model for how to engage with animals. “Everyone here looks after him. “He’s become the personification of this place,” Ali El Oud told The National. “Hopefully, he won’t become a domestic and will continue to migrate.” We want him to have the life that a pelican deserves.”