HBO Documentary Tracks Pelican Rescue Mission During Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response

Release Date: 04/19/2011

April 19, 2011 - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) biologists and technicians were on the front line of wildlife rescue a year ago in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster.

Bird rescue was a primary mission of LDWF’s Coastal and Nongame Resources Division, and one of the birds rescued and rehabilitated, and then returned to Louisiana’s coastal marshes was a brown pelican, tagged number 895 when recovered from oiled state waters last July. The story of that bird was documented by a film crew and that story is now an HBO Documentary Film, SAVING PELICAN 895, which will premiere on HBO on April 20, the anniversary of the rig explosion.

“It’s a remarkable story detailing the efforts of government agencies, conservationists, and wildlife activists joining together to preserve fragile species impacted by oil,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “The significance of that effort is even more special since the brown pelican, our state bird, had just been removed from the federal Threatened and Endangered Species list in 2009.”

The film, produced and directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky, provides a detailed look at one facet of what went on over the course of many months to overcome the threat of oil to the state’s coastal marsh ecosystem.

Working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel and partners that included out of state animal rescue specialists and veterinarians, plus National Audubon Society staff and volunteers, LDWF and pooled resources collectively recovered 4,978 birds from Louisiana’s coastal marshes and waterways. Over 1,500 of that total were oiled, but alive when recovered, and 1,116 of those made it through rehabilitation to be released back into the wild. Other state partners involved in the oiled bird rehabilitation included the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and Louisiana State Animal Response Team.

For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or; or Mike Hopper at 214-356-5430 or

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.