BP’s Oiled Pelicans: “They Look Like Dead Angels in the Sand”

oily pelicanAlarm bells were going off over a month ago from reputable wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians. Fledgling pelicans risked being abandoned by parents who had died or become incapacitated by the oil washing ashore in rookeries along the Louisiana coast. Those with compassion and common sense knew that the fledglings must be rescued or risk starvation.

Louisiana wildlife officials wrung their hands, deferring to “higher-ups,” quoting rules and regulations that the rookeries must not be “disturbed.” At the time, this writer put a governor on her pen, when all she really wanted to write was that the rookeries were beyond being “disturbed.” The rookeries were destroyed. And the juveniles were doomed.

oily pelicans

Juvenile and parent early June, Barataria Bay. Baby will eat up to 150 ponds of fish provided by parent. Now fish is oil-soaked and parent most likely dead.

We had photos of adult pelicans wading through pools of oil and goo on the shores of Queen Bess and Cat Islands. Juveniles were in the nests, totally dependent upon their oil soaked parents for food and guidance. The parents were already dead in some cases. And so this writer remained silent, thinking there was nothing one person could do, and forgetting that sometimes it is just one who can make a difference.

That person is New Orleans’ photographer Jerry Moran, who made his way to Raccoon Island, one and one half hours by boat from Cocodrie, Louisiana, and documented what everyone feared would happen. Now the tragedy has unfolded because we have not raised our voices and screamed that this must stop. This is something we can do. We can rescue these juveniles, but we are afraid of bureaucracy and arrest and fines.

Jerry has documented a preventable tragedy that should haunt all of us who have been silent. With an act of will from those with compassion, these babies can be rescued. Forget about Tri-State Wildlife Rehabilitation and BP owned contractors who are charging for the rehabilitation of every bird. There are compassionate veterinarians and trained rehabilitation specialists who would gladly take these birds for free. But, BP and the government will not allow it.

Rehabilitation of wildlife has become a moneymaking government enabled bureaucracy with a bunch of federal sock-puppets taking orders from BP.

Don’t ask me to prove it. Look at Jerry’s photos.

I know you all can’t charter a boat from Cocodrie, but you can communicate loudly and vehemently to your representatives in our crippled Congress. With enough noise, maybe your Senators and Congressmen will get up and walk instead of crawling before an administration that is disengaged and totally lacking in compassion for men, women and beasts.

georgiianneVideo collection of sights and sounds, wildlife, and people along Louisiana Coast, LCN Television

Note: Still photos here are author’s and in public domain. Video “Song for the Gulf” is available for sharing, courtesy of LCN-TV, Houma, Louisiana.

Georgianne Nienaber

Crossposted with the author’s permission from Huffington Post

Published by the LA Progressive on July 16, 2010
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About Georgianne Nienaber

Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota, New Orleans and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, The Ugandan Independent, Rwanda's New Times, India's TerraGreen, COA News, ZNET, OpEdNews, Glide Magazine, The Journal of the International Primate Protection League, Africa Front, The United Nations Publication, A Civil Society Observer, Bitch Magazine, and Zimbabwe's The Daily Mirror. Her fiction exposé of insurance fraud in the horse industry, Horse Sense, was re-released in early 2006. Gorilla Dreams: The Legacy of Dian Fossey was also released in 2006. She spent much of 2007-2009 doing research in South Africa, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Georgianne was in DRC as a MONUC-accredited journalist, and has been working in Southern Louisiana investigating hurricane reconstruction and getting to know the people there since late 2007. She is a member of the Memphis Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Georgianne is currently developing a short story collection set in Louisiana, and is continuing "to explore the magic of the Deep South."

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