Staff at popular UK zoo in frantic search as pelican goes missing after being scared away by seagulls

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Blackpool Zoo staff are searching for a frightened young pelican which escaped its enclosure after being spooked by a flock of seagulls.

The un-named 14-week-old bird, which has a five foot long wing-span, flew away from Blackpool Zoo  after being scared by the squawking gulls. Keepers at the zoo lost sight of the bird, which is about 4ft (1.2m) tall, at around 4pm on Friday (August 4).

They believe it headed towards the South Shore area of Blackpool. Zoo staff are continuing to search for the pelican but asked members of the public to not approach the bird in case it became scared.

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The pelican has been seen in the area since and the zoo remains “hopeful that it will be found.” The “docile” bird hasn’t been given a name yet as the zoo normally names them once tests have been carried out to determine the bird’s gender.

The zoo has housed the species for many years and they are the only place in the UK to have successfully bred the birds. A Blackpool Zoo spokesperson has said this is the ‘first time’ they have had an incident like this.

They said: "Pelicans are beautiful, docile creatures and there is no threat to the public. We would ask that people do not approach the bird if they see it as it they may scare it. Blackpool Zoo has housed this magnificent species for many years.

"We are the only collection in the UK to have successfully bred them, which makes the youngster very special. This is the first time we have had an incident like this, which was down to the ever-growing problems we, and the town, continue to have with seagulls."

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In April this year, the zoo advertised for ‘seagull deterrents’, a role which would see successful applicants dressed up in bird costumes to scare away the nuisance birds.

Over 250 people from the UK, Thailand, America, India, Australia, Italy, Ukraine and Kenya applied for the role.

Anyone who has seen the bird recently, is urged to ring 07799226908.

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