Great horned owl dies after being found completely covered in oil

A Great horned owl found in the oil pits at Dulah in Ventura County has died after ingesting too much oil that damaged its lungs, the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network confirmed on Thursday.

The bird was treated at the Wildlife Care Network where personnel washed him in warm water with Dawn dish soap. Resting between washes, they said it would take several washes before the owl is completely rid of the oil.

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The bird was taken to the International Bird Rescue center in San Pedro for further treatments but sadly passed away there. The IBR released a statement that reads in part:

" Our veterinarian performed a post-mortem exam and found substantial amounts of oil in his lungs and air sacs, which was the cause of death. Sadly, this discovery means the owl had no chance at survival despite initial optimism and these internal symptoms could only be verified post-mortem.

We would like to send our sincerest gratitude to all the people that rescued, cared for, and supported the care of this beautiful bird, as well as the members of the public who showed keen interest in his well-being.

Although the outcome was tragic, we are inspired by the compassion and dedication of everyone involved and the hope that this owl's story drives us to continue to take action to protect wildlife in need. "

It's unknown how the owl was able to get into the oil pits. Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network says the pits are covered up precisely to protect wildlife from getting in.