Pelicans rehabbed from oil spill released in Texas wildlife refuge
The 62 pelicans arrived on Coast Guard cargo planes Wednesday and were taken to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 08:19 PM
NEW HOME: Cleaned pelicans, formerly oiled from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, are released at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Gulf Coast. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)
More than five dozen brown pelicans rehabilitated from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been released in Texas.
The 62 pelicans arrived on Coast Guard cargo planes Wednesday and were taken to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge about 175 miles south of Houston. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other groups released the pelicans and one northern gannet.
Wednesday's release was the largest to date since an offshore oil rig exploded April 20.
Our hearts really go out to these birds,” said Dan Alonso, project leader at the wildlife refuge.
“When you see them on the news covered in oil and barely breathing, you feel for them. We’re just happy to provide a safe, clean place for the birds to thrive.”
Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Nancy Brown said the refuge was chosen because it has the coastal habitat the pelicans need and was already home to a population of brown pelicans. "Our system here is very similar to Louisiana's," adding that there is an established population of brown pelicans in the San Antonio Bay.
"These are the lucky ones," Margaret Wild, the on-site veterinarian, said. "These are birds that were fortunate enough to receive the best care available."
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