Monday, October 25, 2021

Wildlife officials: 4 oiled birds collected so far in OC spill, 1 euthanized

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.—A state program director charged with collecting and caring for wildlife injured by the oil spill said so far only four oil spills from this weekend’s massive spill off the coast of Orange County on Oct. Birds have been collected, but he warned that numbers could still increase dramatically.

One of the birds collected since a brown pelican outbreak on Saturday had “chronic injuries” and had to be euthanized, according to Michael Zicardi, director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network based at the University of California-Davis.

“With four live birds collected so far, this is much better than we expected,” Zicardi said. “But usually in outbreaks of this nature, we continue to respond to animals here for several weeks to months and respond to calls for animals that may be there. So it’s really early.
Tell, but we are cautiously optimistic.”

Yug Times Photos
Beaches close due to a massive oil spill on October 4, 2021 in Huntington Beach, Calif. (John Fredericks/The Epoch Times)

Ziccardi said the organization has teams throughout the affected area, as well as reconnaissance teams in the north and south looking for birds that are oiled but still able to fly, which makes them more difficult to catch. .

“We have been asked many times, what can people do if people want to help,” he said. “First and foremost we should not try to get people to catch oiled animals. It is not safe for animals, it is not safe for them, as the oil can be a toxic substance. We ask that they report those visits to our hotline immediately.

That hotline is 877-823-6926.

He said the organization is not yet looking for volunteers from the public, but those interested in being trained as volunteers can do so on the calspilwatch.dfg.ca.gov website if needed.

“The oil spill is painful—painful for the community, painful for us personally,” he said. “Those are accidents. No one wants spills to happen – operators, the public, wildlife professionals. I’m a vet, so my mandate is no harm. So obviously the best spill is one that doesn’t affect any animals.” But if these accidents do happen, we try to focus on it as best as we can to try to minimize any harm to the public as well as the state and the agencies involved.”

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Yug Times Photos
Yug Times Photos
Beaches close due to a massive oil spill on October 4, 2021 in Huntington Beach, Calif. (John Fredericks/The Epoch Times)

Joleh Lamb, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California-Irvine, said the damage caused by the spill can last for years and is difficult to assess.

Lamb said the effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 are still being felt.

“I think ‘cleaning’ is a phrase that is exaggerated in both cases,” Lamb said. “We’re still seeing a tremendous impact on those beaches, 32 years after Exxon Valdez. Even if we think we’re cleaning it up, there’s a lot of subsurface chemicals, particulates, on the ocean floor.” Huh. “

Large oil spills “have a tremendous impact on microorganisms,” Lamb said.

Scientists don’t really know what effect pollution has on the growth of microorganisms, Lamb said.

Lamb said Southern California is blessed with the resources to jump-start an oil spill of this magnitude.

“But most places don’t have the facilities and money to respond so fast,” Lamb said.

Rep. Mike Levine (D-Dana Point) said he previously introduced legislation in the Build Back Better bill that would ban off-shore drilling and phase out existing rigs. Lamb said most scientists support this.

“As a marine biologist we would all agree,” Lamb said.

“They should be removed at the very least.”

Lamb said there is some debate among experts about whether to leave the rigs in the ocean because they provide habitat for some marine life.

City News Service

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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