The Children’s Zoo lake has 14 pelicans representing four different species. Due to their nautical nature, husbandry for the pelicans can prove to be challenging.

With medical exams/wellness checks pending, the Birds Trail had to come up with a way to get all the birds off the lake safely, effectively and in the least stressful way possible for the veterinarians to perform the exams. Many ideas were bounced around and one novel idea stuck: radio-controlled boats!

The pelicans easily outmaneuver canoes or kayaks, but RC boats proved to be small, fast and maneuverable enough to keep up with the birds – the perfect device to help herd the pelicans off the lake! Unfortunately, RC boats alone are not enough to herd the pelicans. Keepers from around the Zoo were enlisted to man paddle boats for the creation of a perimeter wall on the lake and assist bird keepers in the kayaks.

With three kayaks, two RC boats and bird keepers waiting on shore to collect them, we were able to herd the pelicans off the lake and into the hands of our vet staff!

All pelicans received a clean bill of health.