NEXT SEABIRD HANDLERS COURSE – Saturday November 22nd 2014, Ballina, NSW. 9:00am to 4:00pm. Contact our Ballina Office on 02 66 862 852 to register.


Ever seen a waterbird with fishing line entanglement, around its leg or wing perhaps, and thought there was no hope for it because it can still fly?

pelicans 009

Because they share the habitat we humans love to go boating and fishing in, pelicans, seagulls and crested terns are just some of the species that suffer fishing line entanglement and accidental hooking.

What to do?  There’s nothing worse than feeling helpless!

In 1992, the late Lance Ferris discovered that over one-third of the local pelican population in the Richmond River at Ballina was hooked, entangled, crippled and suffering infection. Most of them could still fly. The challenge was to figure out how to capture them in order to alleviate their suffering.

Capturing wildlife without an appropriate license is illegal in NSW, sever penalties apply.  For the purposes of rescuing sick, injured or orphaned wildlife in NSW, and for your own personal health and safety you must be a member of a group licensed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and have completed the appropriate training course. Training courses are offered by each branch of Australian Seabird Rescue. Participants receive a copy of “Rescuing the Australian Pelican” (Ferris et al, 2004) including valuable veterinary case studies and rehabilitation advice, and for a limited time, a hard copy of the complementary First Responders Resource Guide for Seabird Emergencies and Pocket Guide published by Australian Seabird Rescue in collaboration with the NSW Government and funded by the NSW Environmental Trust*. A DVD training aid has also been produced and is available on request to Australian Seabird Rescue Inc, Ballina.

Follow this title to a permanent link to the free pdf download of the First Responders Resource Guide for Seabird Emergencies.

Follow this title to a permanent link to the free pdf Pocket Guide for First Responders to Seabird Emergencies.

ASR members deliver training for the capture, handling and first aid of seabirds, shorebirds and other wildlife found along our coastline.  Book training for your area by contacting our Ballina office or follow our branches on social media for news of upcoming events.

*This project has been funded by the NSW Environmental Trust. The Trust is an independent statutory body established by the NSW government to fund a broad range of projects that enhance the environment of NSW. The Trust is administered by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Ferris, L.I., Bonner, M and Kosack, E. (2004). Rescuing the Australian Pelican. Australian Seabird Rescue Incorporated, Ballina, NSW.



The pioneering work of co-founders Lance Ferris and Marny Bonner propelled ASR into the media for their work rescuing the Australian pelican.

Because these birds share their habitat we humans love to go boating and fishing in, pelicans, silver gulls, crested terns and penguins are just a few of the species that suffer fishing-line entanglements and accidental hooking.  You can read our report on the Impacts of Recreational Fishing on Estuarine Birdlife on the Far North Coast of New South Wales, which gives a representative sample of what we see around the country.

Our members are also very active in the protection of important shorebird foraging and breeding areas, and hold grave concerns for the future of migratory waders.

 pelican and batemans bay workshop 130 IMGP0091

IMGP0100 Pel with arrow II


We are active in our communities running awareness and education programs to all ages through our street stalls and visits to schools and community groups. We also connect with the thousands of visitors to our WildlifeLink Sanctuary and coastal education centre each year. You can book a tour of our seabird and sea turtle rehabilitation facility in Ballina by contacting our head office.

Switch to our mobile site