Oiled pelican found in Delacroix



Posted on September 7, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 7 at 7:41 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

DELACROIX, La. - First tar balls washed up on Louisiana beaches after Hurricane Isaac...now we're beginning to see some wildlife covered in oil.
Eyewitness News found a disturbing site in St. Bernard Parish.

A large adult pelican landed near a dock in Delacroix. It was tired, disoriented and covered in thick brown oil. The bird didn't have the strength to fly away, even as fishermen loaded and launched their boats a few feet away.

"I really feel sorry for that poor bird right there," said St. Bernard farmer John Gallo. "It's in bad shape. Somebody better get off their butt to do something."

"He's in bad condition," said crabber Richard Campo. "He's full of oil. He's probably traumatized."

Laboratory tests show that globs of oil found on two Louisiana Beaches after Hurricane Isaac came from the massive 2010 BP spill.

Campo says he wouldn't be surprised if this pelican got into some BP oil, stirred up by the storm.

"I worked that BP oil spill in the marsh out of Hopedale," said Campo. "Them islands on the outside of Hopedale were full of oil."

BP's Gulf Coast Incident Manager Mike Harrison admits the company expected residual oil to kick up during Isaac.

He said, "This material may be buried. It may be on the surface, but generally speaking, it's fairly small in quantity and not a huge detriment to humans nor wildlife."

But, locals like Gallo are worried this pelican and others like it will suffer terrible harm because of the oil.

"That's a shame," said Gallo. "That's a beautiful bird. They don't have no place to live anymore."

Friday afternoon, a wildlife rescue team picked up the oiled pelican.

The bird was taken to a rehabilitation center for cleaning.