FARMER CITY, Ill. — An American White pelican has been released in central Illinois about a month after surviving a shooting that killed five of the federally protected birds.

The University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic released the pelican Monday near Clinton Lake, a few miles west of Farmer City, where other pelicans have been seen. The pelican struggled to get out of his cage, but eventually emerged and waddled around.

The clinic took the pelican in after the April 3 shooting at Newton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area.

Veterinarian Sarah Reich says the pelican ate nearly 40 pounds (187 kilograms) of fish during its stay. She says the pelican "remained as sassy as we could hope for in this species," despite being injured.

Two Newton teens have been charged in the shooting.