June 9th, 2010
12:28 PM ET

At wildlife rehab center, oiled pelicans get a second chance

Dugald McConnell

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/video/us/2010/06/09/todd.pelican.rescue.station.cnn.640×360.jpg caption="Workers are planning to build more receiving pens to handle increased influx of birds."]

Buras, Louisiana– The sign out front points the way: birds, please enter to the right; humans, enter on the left.

Huddled in a pen and covered in brown streaks of oil, a dozen pelicans await treatment after exposure to the pools of crude on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

Increasing numbers of birds are arriving at the Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in this coastal Louisiana town as the environmental disaster in the Gulf stretches on. At least 50 birds were treated on Tuesday alone.

Wildlife workers say the birds get oiled when diving for fish. Their efforts at preening sometimes worsen the coating of crude on their feathers.

The lucky ones are found by state workers and volunteers in time to save their lives.

"The animals that are coming in are covered in oil," the center's Rebecca Dunne says. "But they are pretty healthy animals. So that makes us feel like like we have a chance to save them. We have been pretty successful so far."

While around 200 birds have been dead on arrival at the center, so far none of the 400 birds brought in alive have died.

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Filed under: Dugald McConnell • Gulf Oil Spill
soundoff (One Response)
  1. christie

    This is heart breaking and needs to be stopped we are all going to be effected by this oil spill and our future is lookign pretty grim.

    June 9, 2010 at 1:49 pm |