Rescued pelicans to live at Brookfield Zoo

July 21, 2010 (BROOKFIELD, Ill.)

These aren't just any white migratory pelicans; they were rescued from the gulf oil spill in Louisiana after suffering injuries and then being coated with oil. They were cleaned up and rehabbed in Mississippi, but are now here in their new permanent home.

"We're doing a general exam on these birds. So we're just taking a look at all of their external features so that everything's healthy," said Dr. Michael Adkesson, vet for Chicago Zoological Society.

These Brookfield white pelicans are the lucky ones after the gulf spill killed and injured so many. All five of the pelicans have wing injuries and they can't fly. They were trapped in Louisiana when the gulf oil spill happened.

"If they hadn't been rescued ... and with the oil and the fact that they couldn't fly, they were in pretty dire straits," said Tim Snyder, curator of Birds and Reptiles.

They are giant birds with wingspans of up to eight feet and even though they won't be able to fly they could have a nice long life here.

"In captivity, 30 or so years at least. A lot more than in the wild where they wouldn't get up to be quite that old," said Dr. Adkesson.

They will live out their lives at Brookfield's formal pool.

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