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The carcasses of five petroleum-soaked pelicans have been recovered from California's Santa Barbara coastline, marking the first apparent sea bird fatalities stemming from the oil spill there, officials overseeing response to the disaster said on Friday.

The body of a dolphin with no visible signs of oil also turned up on Friday in Santa Barbara Harbor, though a necropsy - the animal equivalent of an autopsy - must be conducted on the carcasses of the marine mammal and birds to determine conclusively if they were victims of the spill.

Eight oil-stained pelicans have been rescued alive from the spill zone since Tuesday's pipeline rupture, along with two sea lions and one elephant seal, said Ashley Settle, a spokeswoman for the joint-agency command for cleanup and recovery operations in Santa Barbara.

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— Reuters