A team of dedicated rescuers have finally caught up to an endangered bird that had been struggling with a plastic ring around its beak – and thanks to their efforts, the elegant animal has been saved.

The black-necked stork was first spotted by a group of Delhi-based birdwatchers last week. Confused by the bird’s odd behavior, the group examined their photos of the stork until they noticed that it had a plastic ring struck around its beak.

Dozens of local volunteers and wildlife groups became determined to save the stork – but their rescue attempts were thwarted for five days.

The Haryana State Pollution Control Board, the Bombay National History Society, and several other nonprofits and forest groups reportedly used drones to track the bird’s movements until finally, as the stork became weaker, its flights slowed down enough for rescuers to capture it.

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“They found the stork struggling to fly because of dehydration and exhaustion, making it vulnerable to prey. The two chased after the bird for over three kilometres and followed it into a water body till it gave up. They chose to pursue the bird on foot after conventional methods to catch it failed,” Additional Principal Conservator of Forest Vinod Kumar told The Tribune.

Once the ring was removed from the bird’s beak, veterinary specialists took it into their care and announced that apart from hunger and dehydration, it was in good health.

The bird, which was released yesterday, has been tagged for observation in the future.

(WATCH the video below)

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