Friday, April 30, 2010

Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico


Ever since the oil drilling platform exploded and sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, last week, I've been holding my breath. First, I was worrying about the workers involved in this terrible industrial accident.

And secondly, I was bracing to hear about the scope of the environmental impact. Petroleum is hugely damaging to animals, and natural systems. A blob of oil the size of a nickel is enough to kill a waterbird, and this now-uncapped well has the potential to leak more oil than has ever been spilled in history.

Long-time blog readers will remember that I volunteered on the bird rescue effort after the Cosco Busan container ship ran into the San Francisco Bay, spilling tens of thousands of gallons of bunker fuel into the Bay. I also worked on the rehab team when so many birds in the Pacific Northwest were "slimed" by an algae bloom that birds were sent to California for care.

I've seen the Oiled Wildlife Response Network in action. They are a confederation of over twenty-five organizations (universities, wildlife rehab facilities, aquaria, and researchers) who allied after the Exxon Valdez spill. They are ready, around the clock, to respond to disasters, just like this one. They have the knowledge, the trained personnel, the gear, and the structure to help save the lives of any animals affected by oil spills.

Oiled Wildlife Response Network blog
International Bird Rescue Research Center blog

At the moment, the teams seem to be setting up their veterinary hospitals, and are no doubt waiting to see how many animals are affected by the explosion of the oil rig.

If you pay close attention to the following video, you'll see a woman with short dark hair. That's Rebecca, from Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research in Delaware. I worked with her on the Cosco Busan response. Her organization flew people out from the East Coast, to help with a spill in California, and now the Californians and the folks from the Chesapeake Bay are helping out in the Gulf of Mexico. That's beauty of this response network. Everyone comes together to save the lives of animals.


Anonymous said...

Heartbreaking tragedy but it is inspiring to read about those who stand ready to help wildlife. Many are pushing for oil drilling off the coast of Virginia. Shutter!

Urban Dirt Girl said...

I've been out on a boat in the gulf and its devastating to hear about the oil spill. the Mississippi coast line might be hit worse...urggh...its just heartbreaking.

Gina said...

I actually had dreams about this spill; this information is the only positive thing about the entire situation. It is utterly heartbreaking..

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this site?


Hufflepuff Lost

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Hufflepuffs - Wow. That's some incredibly imagery.

This is such a depressing situation. The Gulf Coast's environment is so degraded, already.

Let's hope that something good comes of all this, and it isn't just another Katrina.

Elephant's Eye said...

In South Africa we have SANCCOB (for oiled birds, mostly penguins). In a crisis we have volunteers flying in to help from around the world. Oiled birds can't swim, don't eat, need our help.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network has also worked in South Africa! They helped the oiled penguins on Dassen Island.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if these organizations will accept donations?



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