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Brown pelican dies at Louisiana refuge; Gulf oil spill feared responsible

May 20, 2010 |  3:24 pm

Breton Island

BRETON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, La. — Managers of a renowned bird sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico say they have found their first dead pelican.

Breton National Wildlife Refuge, about eight miles from the Louisiana coast, had been fortunate so far in avoiding the worst of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Then on Thursday morning, workers found a young brown pelican on a sand spit with its neck and one wing matted in oil.

Refuge biologist James Harris says the pelican was likely killed by the oil.

An estimated 4,500 pelicans and tens of thousands of terns nest on the dozens of islands that make up the sanctuary.

Harris says with each passing day the refuge is "pushing the envelope" in avoiding disaster.

RELATED NEWS ABOUT THE GULF OIL SPILL'S EFFECTS ON WILDLIFE:
Once-endangered brown pelican faces a new threat with the Gulf oil spill
Endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle rescued from Gulf oil spill is cared for in New Orleans

-- Associated Press

Photo: Pelicans and gulls are seen on Breton Island. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

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