Gulf oil spill: Oily pelican and more tar balls found on Louisiana shore

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An oily brown pelican has been found on a bayou two hours south of New Orleans, officials said Friday.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries found an oily pelican on the rocks Thursday at Sand Dollar Marina on Grand Isle. The brown pelican is Louisiana’s state bird and was removed from the endangered species list in November of 2009.

Twenty birds have been brought to Fort Jackson for rehabilitation since the beginning of the spill. Five had been in oil and needed treatment, and two have been released. One was released this morning after being washed and held in an outdoor cage as it was rehabilitated. The bird grew from 6.3 ounces to 7.8 ounces as it was being held.

Also on Thursday, shoreline cleanup assessment teams found large tar balls, up to 8 inches in diameter, along Fourchon beach in Southern Louisiana. Tar balls were also found on the banks of Belle Pass and Elmer’s Island. Authorities are also testing tar balls found along barrier islands in Mississippi but have not yet confirmed that they are from the spill.


-- Alana Semuels