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Last Ducks Rescued From Sunnyside Oil Spill Released Back Into the Wild

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SUNNYSIDE, WA. -- It's been more than two weeks since 2,200 gallons of oil spilled into Sulphur Creek near Sunnyside.

On Wednesday, some good news, our cameras were there as the final ducks were released back into the wild. 

The region around the oil spill is far from fully recovered but many of the animals that were covered in that oil are. On Wednesday we got an exclusive look at the last ducks being released back into the wild 

It's hard to tell if these ducks know they are going home but Chris Battaglia does  

"Do you think they know what's happening?" we asked.

"No I don't think so," Chris Battaglia, President of Focus Wildlife said. "They won't wave goodbye. They're absolutely very happy to be out back again."

It took a lot to get these final 10 ducks to this point. After cleaning the oil that covered their feathers and allowing them 2 weeks to recover, they were packed safely into animal carrying cases Wednesday afternoon.

"They're nice and small and the ducks aren't going to flap around in there."

But our first stop was a new home for some different birds. Six geese were adopted by the Shuttleworths, the same people who discovered them covered in oil.  

"It's definitely good to see them with their feathers looking nice again instead of all covered in black," Jill Shuttleworth said.

After a little paperwork, the adoption was done.  

Then finally on to the ducks. 

"I think that's where we get paid," Battaglia said. "Absolutely it's the best moment."

Not all the ducks affected by the spill were so lucky. Sixteen of the twenty two rescued survived to be released. We can't ask these ducks how nice it is to return home.

"I don't think if we come back out here again they won't come over and say thank you," Battaglia said. 

But I can imagine it probably feels pretty good to spread your wings once again. 

How about this for a community response, after our story and others ran earlier last week asking for people to come forward adopting the domesticated geese, I'm happy to report all 57 geese have found a family willing to take them in. 

*This story has been updated to reflect the updated amount of oil released during the spill. 

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