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Pelicans who survived oil spill are back in wild

SHARE Pelicans who survived oil spill are back in wild

BRETON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, La. (AP) — Nearly 200 young brown pelicans who survived an oil spill in June are now back in the wild.

Most have matured and joined wild birds, but a few still come back daily to feed, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist James Harris said. Fourteen others, too young to release, are with a wildlife rehabilitator in Baton Rouge.

Nearly 700 pelicans died and hundreds of others were treated by scientists and veterinarians after they became coated in oil or were poisoned by its toxins.

The cause of the spill is not yet known, but it happened about the time Tropical Storm Arlene hit the Florida Panhandle, said Greg Beuerman, a spokesman for Amerada Hess Corp., which owns the oil well involved.

The spill was discovered June 12 when workers who evacuated for the storm returned to the platform. The rescue of the birds began two days later.