Coast Guard investigating source of oiled pelicans near Santa Barbara

11th Coast Guard District NewsSANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Coast Guard and California state agencies are investigating how five Brown Pelicans became partially covered in oil near Santa Barbara, Calif., July 12 and 13.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Los Angeles conducted an over flight of the area just before sunset Wednesday, and is scheduled to conduct a first-light over flight, Thursday. The helicopter crew did not spot any spill or sheen during the late evening flight.

Coast Guard pollution investigators from Marine Safety Detachment Santa Barbara have conducted beach searches in the area where the pelicans were found but have not found any source of a spill. Investigators are scheduled to continue their beach searches through the week.

The first two birds were rescued after being found Tuesday near Elwood Beach by a seabird rehabilitation volunteer. Three other oiled pelicans were spotted near East Beach on Thursday, however, only one was able to be rescued.

According to June Taylor, a seabird rehabilitation specialist who is caring for the three pelicans, they are not injured and will be transported to a seabird specialist for cleaning in San Pedro, Calif.

Coast Guard command center personnel have contacted all the offshore oil platforms in the area, with the rigs reporting that no fuel or oil transferring has been conducted in the past 24 hours and that operations and levels remain normal.

Responders from California’s Department of Fish and Game are enroute, and the California Emergency Operations Service and Emergency Management Agency have been notified.

The general public is urged not to approach any injured or oiled wildlife as it may put the animal in more danger. Instead report any oiled seabirds to the Santa Barbara Wildlife Organization at (805) 967-1028 or (805) 967-1028 immediately.

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