You don’t have to teach bass how to swim or a molerat how to burrow, so why would you have to teach a pelican how to fish? That’s one question that a camp manager in Tanzania had to ask himself after he rescued an orphan pelican two years ago. Jeffrey Condon of Nomad Lodges is unique among kayak anglers for the pelican that he brings along to his fishing trips. Depending on who you ask, the large bird is both a blessing and a curse—and judging by the fish it steals, maybe more of the former.
“It was just like having a pet dog. He would wander around, exploring a bit, but always came back,” Condon told stuff.co.nz.
These days the pelican, which Condon named Big Bird, is mostly capable of catching its own fish, but that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when the camp manager would take the bird out every morning on his kayak and try to encourage it to catch fish on its own.
“We’ve been teaching him pretty much everything he needs to know. We want to try and get him fishing for himself,” Condon said in the below video, which includes a GoPro montage of the angler training the bird to go after fish.
As you can see, all that training appears to have paid off. Maybe one of these days the bird will realize it’s too big for Condon’s shoulder, too.