Guilty Planet

Here is the dead wildlife tally as of yesterday:

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As you can see, birds are hit hardest (or most often discovered). So we headed to the International Bird Rescue’s Buras, LA operation, where they take many of the oiled pelicans, gulls, and terns.

Most of the birds spend 2-3 weeks in recovery and they spend the first week very stressed out due to all the human handling. Because of the stress, the Bird Rescue Center often let the bird rest 5 days or so before they begin the cleaning process. Then the oiled birds get washed with Dawn dish soap, hosed with water, and treated with tender care by a team of vet techs. I asked Bruce Miller with U.S. Fish & Wildlife whether he thought these birds were getting better health care than many Americans and responded diplomatically, saying he leaves ideologies at the door and does his job, which is to save these birds. (The people at the Buras facility could not give an estimated price per bird but it cost an estimated $15,000 per marine bird for the 627 birds released after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill).

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The brown pelicans (pictured here) have a strong likelihood if survivorship if they can be rescued and cleaned. Their delisting from the U.S. Endangered Species List last November positioned them to be an icon of success of banning DDT and protecting bird habitat. However, the Gulf oil spill is impacting their numbers (an estimated 16,000 nesting pairs along the Louisiana coast) and their nesting sites, which has sparked talks of a relisting. The gulls have also been doing well at the rescue center but not the terns, who are picky eaters and more sensitive to stress.

When asked what made this spill different, Mark Russell of IBRRC said, “it’s everywhere”. I asked about what would happen with the incoming migratory birds. “We don’t even want to talk about them,” Russell said.

A lot of people want to volunteer. It’s important to realize that BP is obligated to pay for the clean-up so they have hired a gang of recently graduated vet techs. In terms of donations, it’s better, Russell said, to give to local wildlife rehabilitation centers that work on these issues year round and don’t get high profile exposure.

i-fc63ee5ead2e930ff853274ea90c8df5-babypelican-thumb-250x306-52756.jpgOutside, the pelicans were looking freshly laundered. There was a reason for this: the Dawn soap also stripped them of their natural oils and so they were in a holding pen until their sleeker look came back. Once they regained their natural waterproofing, they would be transported to a state park in Georgia or Florida perhaps, with hopes that the oil wouldn’t reach them again or vice versa. This was another thing that made this spill different. There is just more oil coming, which makes it impossible to release the birds into the same habitat where they were found.

Comments

  1. #1 yogi-one
    July 9, 2010

    What do the counts you have listed above really mean?

    Birds may be easier to count, as you say.

    I’m thinking that a marine mammal would sink when it dies, and probably be attacked by scavengers on the bottom. In other words, I’m willing to bet that figure is way low.

    How do they count turtles?

    And now that the federal government has colluded with BP and the Coast Guard to keep researchers away from affected areas (the 65-foot rule), how can we say the counts are accurate at all?

  2. #2 Rocky
    July 9, 2010

    Where did you read that researchers are being kept from the affected areas?

    I thought that vessels were being kept 65 feet (less than the length of a 25 yd swimming pool) away from the boom or operations. That isn’t very far and it seems like a good safety measure for vessels in the area.

    Inaccurate counts are probably not going to be caused by this rule. Also, I think those are not meant to be estimated totals – just numbers observed.

  3. #3 Jennifer L. Jacquet
    July 9, 2010

    A recent ruling keeps the public and media about 65 feet from containment boom and vessels participating in the cleanup, yes. Media access seems to be difficult but not impossible. I intend to ask the U.S. Fish & Wildlife how accurate they estimate their counts to be. I agree that many full-time marine species (e.g. fish) will not be counted in the ecological damage.

  4. #4 John Hocevar
    July 9, 2010

    For areas like Barataria Bay, home to some important rookeries for pelicans and other birds, many if not most of the birds have oil on them. The counts are for birds that have been “taken into custody” and do not include the thousands of birds which have been oiled but have not yet ingested so much oil that they have become incapacitated enough to be captured.

    The new regulation requiring people to stay more than 65 feet from protective boom makes it much more difficult for independent observers from helping identify oiled birds. As properly deployed and maintained boom is already a distance away from the rookeries, the added restriction puts observers too far away to see many of the birds well enough to tell how seriously they have been oiled.

    Even without the restrictions, there were times when we didn’t realize that there were heavily oiled birds present until we looked at photographs we’d taken – unfortunately, the hardest hit birds are often the hardest to see.

  5. #5 greg
    July 10, 2010

    hello all,

    I live on the Gulf Of Mexico in Florida.It is hard watching a place you love DIE.I bet the numbers of dead animals are hard counts meaning there are actual bodies.How many have died and the bodies never discovered? It will be DECADES before the Gulf is restored ..if ever.
    I don’t what I am most angry about…the fact that this disaster unlike a hurricane was avoidable….the fact that BP was motivated by greed instead of safety….the fact that BP lied about how much oil was actually spilling/gushing…..the fact that we had a chance to corral the spill before it actually hit our beaches,marshes and estuaries….the fact that the FISH + WILDLIFE had a chance to stop the drilling….the fact that MMS was simply broken up(no accountability) and turned into the Ocean Management Bureau….the fact that the media is no longer in to film and photograph our shame…the fact that all political parties are “grandstanding” while the oil keeps gushing…

    what a “green” world we have created

    greg

  6. #6 fishzle
    July 13, 2010

    “Saved” for now. But it should be obvious that the animals have oil on the inside as well as the outside.

    Is this cleaning effort just a PR stunt? The ingested oil that you can’t clean has got to be worse than the stuff you can see.

    Wherever the animals are released, are they being tracked for a few months to ensure that they are surviving the cleaning? To ensure that they are still able to feed, and are feeding, and still breeding, being social etc.

    It’s been pointed out elsewhere that it’s a complex chemical mix that’s in the water. Ingestion of these things will have long term effects.

  7. #7 orjin yüzbakım seti
    February 25, 2011

    ORJİN KİL MASKESİ İLE
    CİLDİNİZİ DOĞAYLA BULUŞTURUN!

    Bazı ürünlerle tanışmak hayatınızı değiştirir.
    Orjin Kil Maskesi’de bunlardan biri.
    Tüm cilt tiplerine uygun olarak hazırlanmış yatıştırıcı bir maskedir. Organik maddeler içeren maskede, etkileri kanıtlanmış kil mineralleri kullanılmıştır. İçeriğindeki etken maddeler sayesinde cildin gözeneklerinde yerleşmiş kirleri bünyesine çekerek cildi temizler. Cildin doğal nem dengesini korur. Cilde sağlıklı bir görünüm kazandırır. Sadece yüzde değil, sırt, kol, dekolte gibi vücudun diğer bölümlerindeki sivilceler için de kullanılabilir.

  8. #8 orjin yüzbakım seti
    February 25, 2011

    ORJİN KİL MASKESİ İLE
    CİLDİNİZİ DOĞAYLA BULUŞTURUN!

    Bazı ürünlerle tanışmak hayatınızı değiştirir.
    Orjin Kil Maskesi’de bunlardan biri.
    Tüm cilt tiplerine uygun olarak hazırlanmış yatıştırıcı bir maskedir. Organik maddeler içeren maskede, etkileri kanıtlanmış kil mineralleri kullanılmıştır. İçeriğindeki etken maddeler sayesinde cildin gözeneklerinde yerleşmiş kirleri bünyesine çekerek cildi temizler. Cildin doğal nem dengesini korur. Cilde sağlıklı bir görünüm kazandırır. Sadece yüzde değil, sırt, kol, dekolte gibi vücudun diğer bölümlerindeki sivilceler için de kullanılabilir.

  9. #9 PEMBE MASKE
    June 15, 2011

    Özellikle son zamanların en popüler cilt yenileme ürünüdür. Pembe Maske bir çok ünlü isim tarafından da yoğun olarak kullanılmaktadır. Yüzdeki kırışıklıklar, sivilce ve sivilcelerin sebep olduğu deformasyonları gidermede kullanılan Pembe yüz maskesi ve inceltici, selülit giderici olarak kullanılan pembe vücut maskesi olmak üzere iki farklı ürün mevcuttur.

  10. #10 Melody
    September 25, 2011

    It’s over a year later and they are noticing tar balls with the same chemical makeup as the BP spill washing ashore after recent tropical storms, yet they are ignoring the news in the mainstream media. It makes me sick.

  11. #11 venezuela
    February 22, 2012

    It’s a shame that the corporate leviathans get such a pass. Where is the media coverage of this? It’s as if the U.S. government just wanted it out of the news as fast as possible.

  12. #12 Testing
    March 8, 2012

    It’s all a big corporate/government sham! Seriously, they elevate the prices, which makes them rich, so they can get dupe the public into screaming for more production, which makes them rich. I don’t know how we are going to make a change anytime soon.

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