LDWF Releases Rehabilitated Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) released three ducks Oct. 22 onto Manchac Wildlife Management Area (WMA) following their rehabilitation after being oiled at a refinery near Belle Chasse. The three black-bellied whistling ducks were safely captured by LDWF’s Oil Spill Response Team then taken to Wildlife Response Services for the rehabilitation process.

Laura Carver, LDWF’s Oil Spill Response Coordinator, worked with state trustees and the company responsible for the oil spill to institute wildlife hazing and oil spill clean-up operations to limit impacts to wildlife.

“The three ducks were heavily oiled and two of them were emaciated,’’ Carver said. “Thanks to the rehabilitation process all three were back to a healthy weight prior to release and were observed swimming and diving in the pool provided for them in their pen.

“We choose to release them on Manchac WMA (in St. John the Baptist Parish) due to its favorable habitat type and the proximity to the rehabilitation center in Livingston Parish. When oiled wildlife is rehabilitated in Louisiana following an oil spill we typically release them at one of LDWF’s WMAs or refuges or a national wildlife refuge in the state.’’

The first duck was captured Oct. 5 using a dip net. It was swimming in a heavily oiled portion of a flooded nine-acre field. The other two ducks, caught on Oct. 12, were captured using dip nets from shore and by boat in an unoiled retention pond. Field triage was performed on all three ducks before transport to the rehabilitation center.

For more information on LDWF’s oil response operation, contact Carver at lcarver@wlf.la.gov.