Wildlife crews capture, clean swan - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Wildlife crews capture, clean swan

By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  WALB spoke to the owners of a swan that became covered in tar in oil in a pond in the Lake Park neighborhood a week ago.

They tried capturing him so they could have a bird specialist clean him. But they were unsuccessful. Sunday, employees from the Flint RiverQuarium came out capture Leo the swan.

The wildlife crew waited with a net and a sheet. They slowly approached Leo until they could secure him. Leo was so strong, it took five people to hold him down.

They were able to wrap him in sheets and towels, put him in the car and drove him to the riverquarium for cleaning. Bird specialist, Amanda Barber says she's cleaned oil off small birds but she's never cleaned fowl this large before.

"The fact that he's still alive is a good sign because he hasn't ingested so much oil to kill him," Barber said. 

Crews filled up the tubs and poored in gallon after gallon of Dawn dishwashing liquid. They poured 16 cups of Dawn in the first tub, eight in the second, and eight in the third. All three tubs held about 20 gallons of water.

After lathering Leo with Canola oil, they dipped him in the first tub and let the soap dissolve the tar on his feathers and bill.

They cleaned him in all three tubs. The oil even came off in their hands. They hoped to repeat the process once more, but Leo became so stressed they had to stop. They rinsed him off and will continue to clean once he's rested.

Leo has been able to eat for the first time in several days. Riverquarium staff say they are glad he is still alive after injesting so much oil. They will continue to clean Leo tomorrow and hopefully set him free.

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