It's been a long journey for a pelican named Pete, who was found nearly dead Dec. 5 behind the Hard Rock Casino Biloxi.
But after almost a month of extended rehab, Pete has been released back into the wild.
Pete's adventure began when J.T. House, a fisherman, found Pete entangled in a fishing line on the dock behind the Hard Rock.
"He was probably back there to get some fish from the fishermen," House said, adding he saw a fishing lure embedded in Pete.
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"He had a big treble hook caught in his beak and his throat," he said. "I tried to catch him by myself and some people finally showed up and gave me a hand."
House said he called Wild at Heart Rescue of Vancleave to help save Pete from dying.
"If he had stayed out there much longer, I think he would have died," he said.
Pete was taken to D'Iberville Animal Clinic where Dr. Michael Sheffield removed the fishing lure. Then it was off to Vancleave for what should have been a couple of weeks of rehab.
"After the hook was removed, we treated Pete for mites and lice and (other) parasites, which are commonly found on birds," said Missy Dubuisson, Wild at Heart's founder and lead rehabilitator.
"But because of the red tide algae bloom, we couldn't release him."
During his stay, Dubuisson said, she noticed Pete had a lot of personality.
"He was a little stinker," she said. "He would snap at you when you tried to feed him. This is why we don't get too attached to the animals we help -- you have to remember they are wild animals."
Pete was released Jan. 1 on a beach in Biloxi near where he was found. Dubuisson said she was happy to see Pete returned to his natural home.
"When he came to us, he was in really bad shape," she said. "He was very weak from his injury. But when he saw his friends when we released him, you could tell he was happy to be around other birds again."