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10 animals at risk of extinction from the Gulf oil spill

By: Bryan Nelson on July 19, 2010, 12:35 p.m.
Brown pelican covered in oil in Gulf of Mexico

Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP

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Brown pelican

Perhaps no species has received as much press coverage as the brown pelican during the oil spill cleanup. Removed from the Endangered Species List just months before the oil spill, the brown pelican may soon be added back to the list.

Crude oil is particularly dangerous to birds because it coats their feathers, making it impossible for them to fly away. The oil interferes with the pelican's ability to regulate body temperature, and it forces the bird to consume copious amounts of the oil as it tries to preen its plumage.