Like so many birds native to the Gulf of Mexico, these pelicans were oiled by the BP oil spill. Lucky for them, they were rescued and brought to the Chicago Zoological Society, where they were rehabilitated by veterinarians. But being rescued from the oily water is only the first step in their recovery.
Three of these rescued birds are adults and the others are estimated to be less than 2 years old. All of the birds were rescued from the Mississippi Canyon area off the coast of Louisiana and had wing injuries prior to the spill that prevented them from migrating. These birds were moderately oiled from the spill and, like many animals in the region, needed to be cleaned and treated.
In this picture, an American white pelican has its wings checked during a physical examination at animal hospital at Brookfield Zoo (part of the Chicago Zoological Society).
"At this time, we do not yet know the potential long-term health risks the pelicans may have sustained due to exposure to the oil," said Tim Snyder, curator of birds for the Chicago Zoological Society.
Veterinarians listen to the heart of an American white pelican during a physical examination.
Veterinarians at the Chicago Zoological Society oversee an American white pelican being anesthetized.
"We hope these pelicans will serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts to help educate our guests about the effects the oil spill has had on the wildlife in the Gulf," said Tim Snyder, curator of birds for the Chicago Zoological Society. The Zoological Society worked with the Brookfield Zoo to find a permanent home for the pelicans. You'll be able to visit them soon at the zoo.