SPECIAL NEWS SECTION
page is a compilation of news stories accumulated through
Google Alerts of the British Petroleum so far unrestrained
gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. It focuses on the Gulf environment,
especially the Louisiana State Bird, the Brown Pelican
with updates on pelicans and other seabirds/marine life
affected by this disaster.
Barack Obama, 3/31/2010, on drilling in
the Gulf: YouTube - support
Tracking the spilling
oil: http://nyti.ms/anMcRY and
bracing for impact, http://tinyurl.com/2audddf
; Where oil has make landfall: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/27/us/20100527-oil-landfall.html ;
Relative sizes of "spills," graphic, June 8.
Detroit Free Press gallery, May 1. 5/12: Video of the
gushing oil/gas: http://tinyurl.com/2cbt8lt ;
to follow via the New Orleans Times Picayune: http://www.nola.com/t-p/
and, specifically, the Gulf oil "spill": http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/
5/27 — ABC News video Under the
Water, with Phillippe Cousteau: http://tinyurl.com/3xa88m
6/11 — Visualizing the oil disaster: map
To help: The IBRRC has
been inundated with questions about how people can help.
While those responsible for this spill are supposed to
be covering the cost of the Gulf clean-up, you can support
the ongoing work of the non-profit organizations currently
on the ground preparing to respond to oiled wildlife. You
can support International
Bird Rescue's ongoing rescue work by donating, becoming
a member or adopting a bird, all available online here.
UPDATE: apparently IBRRC has pulled out
of the main rescue/cleanup station: link It's
concentration remains on washing birds.
Please also consider donating to Tri-State
Bird Rescue & Research with whom IBRRC is partnering
in this ongoing effort on the Gulf Coast. (Tri-State
this winter undertook the very expensive rescue operation
of frost-bitten pelicans noted below in the Pelican
section on Maryland pelicans; IBRRC also has had the
heavy costs of this past winter's California Brown Pelican
the most comprehensive coverage of this ecological disaster
that affects man and beast and bird, watch Anderson
Cooper on CNN: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/
Dead Wildife Tally, BP oil disaster, not counting
the fish and all they feed on
IBRRC: Bird Care
in Numbers (link)
LATimes Gallery of
photos, June 5
"The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico finally
has a face.
AC360° — Cleaning Birds from the Gulf (video)
Or, rather, faces — at once primordially familiar
and yet utterly strange under their new bronze patinas.
As close-up photographs begin to appear that document the
insult and injury done to coastal wildlife by the Deepwater
Horizon leak, public pressure on the Obama administration
and BP to stop the leak — stoked by an emotional
response to such troubling images — will surely grow.
These are the faces that government officials and oil
executives may see in their nightmares. ..." http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/04/assignment-35/?hp
OILED: A pelican is mired
in oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the
Louisiana coast.— Charlie Riedel,
Associated Press photo
ARE PEOPLE CLEANING AROUND THE ISLANDS?
1000's have offered to volunteer, including this web site
owner, but how many have been accepted?
A young pelican sits on its nest as its mother stands
by. Oil has reached the shore of islands near Grand Isle,
La., where thousands of birds nest.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times / May 24, 2010) — June
5, LAT photo
NASA Satellite Images Show BP Oil Spill
Spreading in Gulf of Mexico (6/15 update)
June 15, 2010 12:28 PM EDT (Updated: June
15, 2010 12:31 PM EDT)
The latest series of images from NASA's
Earth Observatory website show that the oil slick from
the BP oil spill continue to spread throughout the Gulf
of Mexico, and broader swathes of oil are now visible
in areas in which there was only hints of oil presence
in prior weeks. :::snip:::
Little-known pancake batfish could be
one of oil spill's early victims
By Kelly Lynch, CNN
(CNN) -- The Deepwater Horizon oil spill
has already claimed many victims -- from pelicans to oyster
beds and precious marshland. But there may be one more:
a species only just recently discovered. :::snip:::
* Louisiana pancake batfish lives 1,500
feet below surface
* For deep-water denizens like pancake batfish, threat
is from underwater oil plumes
* One expert estimates that 98 percent of Gulf's deep-water
marine life remains unknown
* Scientists worry that extinction could come even before
species are discovered
Ad for a Dish Detergent Becomes Part of a Story
By LESLIE KAUFMAN
Published: June 15, 2010 — In mid-April, the makers of
Dawn liquid dish detergent started running TV commercials
that played up its reputation as the soap of choice among
nonprofit groups that clean birds and marine mammals harmed
by oil spills.
Dawn Commercial (YouTube.com)
Procter & Gamble, the maker of Dawn, ran commercials
mainly in April, before Earth Day, about cleaning birds
The advertisement, with blackened baby otters and ducklings
emerging cleansed by a Dawn bubble bath, had run intermittently
since last summer. More of the ads were being played as
Earth Day neared, on April 22.
:::snip::: While other dish
detergents were good, Dawn had the right ratio of “surfactants” — cleaners
that cut oil — to be effective yet not irritate the
birds and other animals like otters and seals.
Organizers also liked that it was readily available at
any store and that it did not hurt animals’ ability
to whisk away water.
Procter & Gamble refused requests by the research
center to donate its product until 1989. In recent years,
Dawn has started raising money for the center and also
the Marine Mammal Center. In its current campaign, the
company is raising money from sales of the product, and
is on track for $500,000 by the end of the month, Ms. Baba
The birds emerge from the baths still subdued, but looking
a lot more like themselves. After they are blow-dried they
sit in outdoor cages, waiting to fully recover and be sent
to gulf beaches not yet covered in oil.
Yet even Jay Holcomb, the executive director of the bird
rescue research center, acknowledged that it was unclear
what happens after that.
“It is like a Band-Aid to a gunshot wound to the
heart,” said Mr. Holcomb, who says it is impossible
to estimate how many of the birds will survive when returned
to the wild.
See also: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2010/06/16/ST2010061602998.html
Panel Sharply Raises Estimate of Oil Spilling Into the
By LIZ ROBBINS and JUSTIN GILLIS
Published: June 15, 2010 — A government panel raised its
estimate of the flow rate from BP’s damaged well
yet again on Tuesday, declaring that as much as 60,000
barrels a day could be gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
The spill was already categorized as the largest in the
nation’s history, and the new
figures sharply increase previous estimates, suggesting
a flow equal to an Exxon Valdez — every four days. :::snip:::
Nungesser says BP workers broke eggs, crushed chicks in
Photos courtesy Plaquemines Parish government
Posted on June 15, 2010 at 3:29 PM » — PLAQUEMINES,
La. -- A Plaquemines Parish cleanup crew discovered broken
eggs and crushed chicks on Queen Bess Island on Tuesday,
and parish leaders are blaming BP workers cleaning
up the oil spill for the damage.
here to see photos
“The people BP sent out to clean up oil trampled
the nesting grounds of Brown Pelicans and other birds," said
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.
A parish spokesman said plastic
bags containing snare boom found by the Plaquemines Parish
Inland Waterways Strike Force were "recklessly placed
without consideration for the natural wildlife on the
"Pelicans just came off the endangered species list
in November of last year. They already have the oil affecting
their population during their reproduction time, now we
have the so called clean up crews stomping eggs," Nungesser
Nungesser called for a more pro-active approach for rescuing
wildlife affected by the oil. He wants the Humane Society
to come up with a better way to enlist the help of volunteers,
saying dozens should be brought in from across the country
to help save the wildlife.
"The lack of urgency and general disregard for Louisiana’s
wetlands and wildlife is enough to make you sick," Nungesser
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Wayne Pacelle of the U.S.
Humane Society joined Nungesser on the trip.
Brown pelican long a symbol of survival
By Wayne Drash, CNN
June 15, 2010 11:51 a.m. EDT — (CNN) -- Long before the
brown pelican came to symbolize the tragedy of the Gulf
oil spill, the giant bird stood for something much greater:
survival against all odds. ...
"At a time when so many species of wildlife are threatened,
we once in a while have an opportunity to celebrate an
amazing success story," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
declared on November 11. "Today is such a day. The
brown pelican is back."
Now, eight months later, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal stands
on the deck of a boat near Pelican Island off the Louisiana
coast. He's surveying efforts to protect the state's wetlands.
He's ordered the National Guard to begin building barriers
in the ocean to try to stop the oil from reaching shore.
Yet Jindal pauses to talk about the brown pelican. ...
"Here's what's really sad," Jindal said. "For
every one of those mother adult pelicans you're saving,
there are many more back there that you can't get to. And
for every mother pelican you're saving, there may be a
nest, there may be eggs that can't be saved.
"And that's the tragedy in this: That for every animal
we see, what's this oil doing to their young? What's this
oil doing to their life cycles?" :::snip:::
Few opportunities for oil spill volunteers by Katie Moore
/ Eyewitness News
Posted on June 15, 2010 at 5:45 PM — NEW ORLEANS
-- People across the country are trying to lend a hand
with the cleanup of the oil spill.
But many are left feeling helpless because according to
volunteer coordinators, there's not much hands-on work
available because BP is coordinating paid workers for the
It has locals doing just about anything they can think
of to help out.
“It's heartbreaking. You know, it starts to bring
you to tears,” said t-shirt shop co-owner Anne Warren.
She said she didn’t know what else to do.
“When all of this began I think we, like a lot of
people, just felt kind of helpless and wanted to help,” she
So, her Oak Street shop, Skip and Whistle, is doing what
they do best, making T-shirts. :::snip:::
Trip along oiled coast shows effects of
oil spill on wildlife by Bigad Shaban / Eyewitness News
Posted on June 14, 2010 at 10:06 PM — NEW
ORLEANS -- Oily marshes now dying in the water and new
oil streaks are flowing in the Gulf, but a Coast Guard
official says it is our cameras that could hurt the wildlife.
Louisiana waters tainted, wildlife trapped.
“It's a developing tragedy unfortunately,” said
Sen. David Vitter.
With the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
charting the way, we joined Vitter, R-La., and the president
of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Parcelle,
for a boat tour of Queen Bess Island.
"I couldn't help but sense a feeling of impending
doom for these animals,” Pacelle said. :::snip:::
Soon we take to the ground once again and make our way
to the Ft. Jackson Wildlife Rehab Center in Buras, but
before we can get past the gate, we're stopped.
A representative from the Coast Guard came out here and
said we weren't allowed in, because he was worried my photographer
and I were someone going to disturb the wildlife.
Vitter argues to let us in, saying the director of the
center granted us access.
The conversation moves away from our cameras and we are
not allowed through. :::snip:::
NPR — Should Oiled Birds Be Cleaned?
by Nell Greenfieldboyce
June 14, 2010 — Brian Sharp, an ornithologist who has
a private consulting firm in Oregon, says that on the news
lately, he has heard wildlife experts in Louisiana talk
about their efforts to clean up wild birds that have gotten
covered in oil.
"And they're saying, 'Yes, we can save these birds,'
and, 'Yeah, we can take care of them,' " Sharp says.
But he seriously doubts it. :::snip:::
Workers who clean oiled birds also want to see more research
on how the animals do once they are released.
Mark Russell, a project manager with the International
Bird Rescue Research Center, says that the Gulf spill seems
like "a golden opportunity to find more information
But Russell says that in the absence of clear answers,
the birds' suffering still demands action.
"Until we know, we have a moral obligation to stay
the course and care for these animals," he says, "and
we owe it to each individual animal."
Sometimes, Russell says, euthanasia may be the right choice
if it looks like there's no chance a bird could return
to the wild. But if recovery seems possible, he thinks
a bird should get that chance.
sidebar:: Birds Affected By The Spill
Michael Seymour, an ornithologist with the Louisiana Department
of Wildlife & Fisheries, talks from Grand Isle beach
in Louisiana about some of the bird species affected by
the BP oil spill. "Literally every day, we're checking
every colony out here to see what the progress of the oil
is," he says. Seymour hopes that habitat damage won't
be permanent, but says it's difficult to judge how long
the effects will linger.
Brown pelicans: Only last year did the brown pelican come
off the endangered species list, and now it faces trouble
once again. "The majority of the birds that we're
seeing that are oil-impacted are brown pelicans," Seymour
says. Brown pelicans, which are the state bird of Louisiana,
fly over the water looking for prey and plunge headfirst
to catch fish. Both diving for fish and swimming through
oily waters can cause problems for these birds, says Seymour.
Laughing gulls: Laughing gulls during mating season have
a striking red bill and a black head with eyes rimmed in
white, according to the National Audubon Society. But all
you see of this laughing gull is a layer of black oily
muck. Laughing gulls tend to hunt by picking up things
off the surface of the water, which is where they can run
into problems, Seymour says.
Egrets and herons: These birds feed along the shorelines,
beaches and tidal areas. Some herons and egrets are exposed
to oil as they wade and hunt food. It sticks to their bellies,
legs, chest -- even their neck and head -- as they dunk
their faces into the water to grab fish or small crustaceans.
Seymour says he's particularly worried about reddish egrets. "Their
numbers are declining, and we don't have a whole lot of
colonies of them left in the state," he says. "And
certainly our colonies aren't very big that we do have."
--Whitney Blair Wyckoff
Listen to the Story Morning Edition [4 min 13 sec]: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127749940
Fifth-grader raises $70K to help birds in Gulf oil spill
This is a brown pelican drawn by Olivia Bouler, 11, an
aspiring ornithologist who's raising money for birds
hurt by the BP oil spill.
By Stephanie Steinberg, USA TODAY
Americans nationwide feel helpless when it comes to aiding
the birds smothered in oil from the Deepwater Horizon
Not 11-year-old Olivia Bouler.
A fifth-grader from Long Island, N.Y., Olivia has raised
more than $70,000 for the National Audubon Society— a
non-profit dedicated to bird conservation — by drawing
pictures of birds and sending them to people in the USA
and abroad in return for a donation. :::snip:::
The donations are being used to clean oil-coated birds,
transfer them to Florida to be released in safer environments
and cover food and motel expenses for volunteers, says
National Audubon Society president Frank Gill.
Gill says volunteers have found more than 800 dead birds — most
of them pelicans — that have washed up on the Gulf
shores. About 200 birds have been found alive. Pelican
offspring are in serious trouble because they need to be
fed four times a day, but the parents can't catch fish
in oily waters, Gill says.
With no signs of the spill stopping, Olivia plans to continue
drawing. She says the spill is a "depressing tragedy."
"BP made a huge mistake. ... I want to make up for
that mistake," she says. "I want to save those
birds that are dying."
Anger and Despair in the Gulf
(podcast) Monday, June 14, 2010 — Hard
times in the Gulf. Jobs and a way of life now on the brink.
We hear from folks living in the midst of it all. (But
unfortunately not from those working to save the wildlife
that is -or was- native to the area. ... "It's
beyond sad," all of it. As Ashbrook asks, "People can hunker
down, but is there something to hunker down to?")
Why the United States still can't get BP to do what's
If Obama asserts no legal authority over BP, he can't cleanup
the oil giant's cleanup
By Robert Reich (This post originally appeared at Robert
Sunday, June 13, 2010 ...And right now BP’s first
responsibility is to its creditors and shareholders, not
to the American public.
So if it’s UK pensioners versus American workers
and property owners, who wins? More to the point, who’s
going to decide? Most likely, a judge – or several
judges, here and in the UK, through a mountain of litigation
that will keep thousands of attorneys, solicitors, and
barristers busy for decades.
In the meantime, months or even years could go by as Coast
Guard admirals and rear admirals, as well as the White
House, tells BP it needs to spend more to stop and clean
up the mess it’s created, it’s going way too
slow, and it’s not divulging what it knows. And BP
shrugs and says it’s doing all it can.
I’ve got a better idea. Wouldn’t it be far
simpler for the White House (stating that the Pollution
Control Act of 1990 gives it authority) to put BP’s
American operations into temporary receivership? That way,
Obama can take over BP’s assets here and use its
expertise to stop the leak and clean up the mess as soon
as possible — and leave the subsequent years of bickering
to the courts.
Extra bonus: It shows the public the President is really
Don’t kill oiled birds, say UC Davis experts
June 13, 2010 — Rescuing oiled birds is the right
thing to do because more of them survive and reproduce
than previously thought, say UC Davis oiled wildlife experts
in the first scientific review of all oiled-bird survival
“Photos of extremely oiled pelicans in the Gulf
spill have raised the question: ‘Are we helping these
animals more by saving them, or by ending their suffering?’ said
Michael Ziccardi, a UC Davis associate professor of veterinary
medicine and oiled-wildlife expert who has responded to
more than 45 spills and treated more than 6,500 oiled birds.
“It’s an entirely appropriate question to
ask. I ask it myself every time I work in an oil spill.
And my answer, based on caring for these injured birds
throughout the world, is that we help them more by saving
“In our studies of oiled pelicans and coots in the
mid-1990’s, survival was not as successful as we
would have liked,” Anderson said. “But there
is some more encouraging research coming out lately on
the survival rates of birds that received improved veterinary
care, summarized by Warnock and Ziccardi.
“I would caution, though, that rehabilitation of
oiled birds is not the solution to the conservation problem.
It helps a small part of the population, even though I
am personally concerned about saving individual pelicans
from a strictly moral viewpoint.
“But this spill has permanently damaged the ecosystem
where the birds and their descendants will live, and even
the best veterinary care cannot overcome that obstacle.
Only onsite restoration and conservation can, in the most
6-13: Compounding the disaster --- how can this
06/11/2010 - American Birding Association:
Room For Improvement In The Difficult Oiled Bird Recovery
Strategy on Grand Isle, LA
Yesterday I had the good fortune of tagging along with
a news crew to some of the outer barrier islands and nesting
colonies in Barataria Bay, near Grand Isle Louisiana. It
was my first time out in a boat since the last wave of
oil hit, and since so many birds in the area became severely
oiled. I got off on the East end of Grand Terre island,
which is one of the islands that I have visited frequently.
I only spent a short time there, but the effects of the
last wave of oil were disturbing. Fully saturated boom
lay on the shores, unable to collect more oil should it
hit again. :::snip:::
And much more:
Now it seems that politics
have taken a toll on this effort in Grand Isle as well.
I was informed that the IBRRC, a highly experienced
group from California who is contracted to rescue and
rehabilitate the birds here has pulled out of the mission
on Grand Isle due to communication and leadership issues. I
have not contacted them for an official statement, but
can report that the team of rescuers that had been here
since day one, who have much experience responding to
spills throughout the world ,and have been here learning
the lay of the land are no longer here. :::snip:::
from http://birding.typepad.com/... http://tinyurl.com/26bwrca (with
comments and pictures)
6/12 — Latest Update and
continues to flow at a significant rate from 5,000 feet
beneath the ocean surface, and the growing impact of
the spill is now being felt in Alabama and Florida, in
addition to Louisiana. The only good news for BP seems
to be the absence of any major PR gaffes over the last
24 hours. The company has finally gotten a better handle
on their communication with the media.
Number of oiled birds forces treatment facility to move
by Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News, wwltv.com
Posted on June 12, 2010 at 5:45 PM — GRAND ISLE,
La. - Workers in a small air-conditioned trailer handled
the Brown Pelican with care. It is one of the lucky ones:
spotted amidst the oil and subsequently rescued, the bird
is now undergoing emergency care at a Wildlife Triage Center
on Grand Isle. :::snip:::
So far, 312 live birds have made it through the triage
center-- 30 have not. In all, though, the numbers illustrate
the need for emergency care for oiled wildlife.
"As long as there's oil that's still moving around
on the water, there's a potential for animals to become
oiled," Callahan said.
Next week, the Wildlife Triage Center plans to move to
a larger space, at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife
and Fisheries facility on Grand Isle. http://tinyurl.com/29tob5k
BP oil spill: rescuing the wildlife caught in the slick
Alex Hannaford joined rescue teams battling to save the
wildlife affected by the BP oil slick off the coast of
By Alex Hannaford in Grand Isle, Louisiana
Published: 8:08PM BST 12 Jun 2010
It is the home to
thousands of nesting brown pelicans and their young as well as other exotic species of bird
- roseate spoonbills, egrets and the rare reddish egret.
But on outlying Cat Island, part of the ragged shoreline
of the Gulf of Mexico just south of New Orleans, the cacophony
of squawking that is a normal feature of this spot belies
an ugly truth.
The air is filled with the chemical aroma of crude oil,
overwhelming the smell of faeces that would normally dominate.
Red and black oil coats the rocks and you can see smudges
of brown crude stuck to the bellies of birds flying overhead.
"See how oiled he is?" said Todd Baker, deputy
director of the wildlife rescue efforts being run from
the larger Grand Isle, just south of New Orleans, pointing
to one pelican with outstretched wings. "He feels
that weight and thinks it's water and he's trying to dry
off, but he can't.
"Then he's using his beak to pick the oil off his
feathers, and now he'll ingest that. He's in a pretty bad
This was the grim scene as The Sunday Telegraph was taken
by boat to witness the first step in the rescue efforts
being made all along this coast. :::snip:::
Oiled birds are taken to one of four facilities along
the coast. A fifth is now being planned in Texas, a sign
that the authorities anticipate oil spreading west, and
another is being prepared inland at Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
out of the reach of the hurricanes which are expected in
the area soon.
The largest is an aluminium warehouse in Ft Jackson, about
four hours by car from Grand Isle. Inside, the birds here
represent living, breathing evidence of the environmental
effects of the spill. Each one is photographed, documented
Some 40 pelicans have already been released but others
have died. Dr Jay Holcomb, executive director of the International
Bird Rescue Research Centre, said at the moment they were
dealing with between 60 and 90 birds a day. :::snip:::
National Zoo: Ready and Able to Help with Oil Spill Clean-Up
June 11, 2010 6:19 PM — Right now,
the animal rescue duties are being handled by residents
of the Gulf, but with a spill this large it's likely the
region will need backup. If that call for backup comes,
people like (Acting Curator of Birds) Boritt and his staff
will be ready to help.
Boritt also took Budich into the Roseate Spoonbill's cage.
The Roseate is a pink bird with a distinctive, spoon-shaped
beak whose natural habitat is the Gulf Coast. Boritt said
that even a "bird guy" like himself has trouble
identifying the birds in the footage of oil-soaked creatures,
but it's likely some of the brown birds on TV are indeed
The Roseate is indeed more colorful than the Brown Pelican,
but it seems to Boritt that the Brown Pelican is in the
most danger. Just a few months ago it was taken off the
Endangered Species list, but Boritt is convinced that by
the end of this year it will be locally extinct - again
- in Louisiana.
Making the situation worse for the Brown Pelican is that
this is nesting season. So mothers who may be rescued and
released in Florida are naturally inclined to try to find
their way back to their nests. Those nests tend to be right
in the heart of the spill.
And even if the mothers stay in Florida, officials are
worrying more and more that the Atlantic coast of Florida
might not be safe enough for the rescued birds. With oil
still seeping into the ocean and currents moving it every
which way, there's no guarantee oil won't find its way
around the Panhandle. :::snip:::
Oil hitting Ala. beaches worst yet since spill
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back
soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's
beaches took their worst hit yet from an oil spill in the
Gulf of Mexico on Saturday as globs of crude and gooey
tar — some the size of pancakes — lined the
white sands and crews worked to try to keep a giant oil
sheen just a few miles away from reaching the shore.
Scientists have estimated that anywhere
between about 40 million gallons to 109 million gallons
of oil have gushed into the Gulf since a drilling rig exploded
April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering the worst oil
spill in U.S. history.
The oil washing up on Alabama's shores
was the heaviest since the rig explosion and came just
as the summer beach season was picking up. :::snip:::
Day 52: Friday's Oil Slick concentrations:
REPORT AIR DATE: June 11, 2010
BP Oil Leak Rate Estimate Doubled
New estimates suggest BP's ruptured well may have spewed
twice as much oil into the Gulf of Mexico before it was
capped than previously thought, raising new questions about
cleanup and restoration efforts. Judy Woodruff has an update
on the scope of the disaster. :::snip:::
JUDY WOODRUFF: The upshot is an even graver threat to
the Gulf's animal and plant life. A Marine biologist at
Texas A&M University warned today the environmental
damage could be quadrupled. :::snip:::
See also: Gulf oil spill figures may be
double earlier estimates
Government scientists say as many as 40,000 barrels of
oil per day have been gushing into the gulf. BP has said
the blown-out well will not be plugged before August.
...The new figures could mean 42 million
to 84 million gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf
of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on the
night of April 20 — with the lowest estimate nearly
four times the size of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. ... http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-20100611,0,841698.story
Oil-threatened estuary is key to life in the gulf
Shrimp, crab, oysters, gators, birds, snakes, people – all
have ties to Louisiana's Barataria Bay.
by Julie Cart, June 11, Reporting from Bataria Preserve,
The sickening images of pelicans st ruggling in oil along
Louisiana's barrier islands only hint at what's at stake
if the slick forces its way into the state's 3 million
acres of estuaries and marshes. ...
Nearly everything that lives in the gulf is in some way
connected to Barataria Bay, which is part of a coastal
water system that regularly flushes with tides that mix
salt water and fresh water. Pirates used the region's uncounted
cul-de-sacs as hideouts and bases from which to launch
forays into the gulf and Caribbean. Today, commercial fishermen
motor south from their docks in Lafitte and Barataria.
Oil-soaked animals are victims of the BP oil spill in
on the video or write in the search box: Wildlife
in the Gulf
Critics Question Pelican Rescues
Posted: June 10, 2010 04:48 PM — Of all the images
that will remain with us as a symbol of the massive oil
spill in the Gulf, the sight of Louisiana's state bird,
struggling to survive, is one of the most poignant.
As hundreds of volunteers work practically around the
clock to clean and rehabilitate not only Brown Pelicans,
but also Sea Gulls, terns, and other oiled birds, critics
are now calling the process a waste of energy.
In the seven weeks since the spill began, a total of four
442 birds have been rescued.
They are scrubbed clean with dishwashing liquid, and held
a week or so to recover, then flown via a Coast Guard plane
to Tampa Bay, Florida, in hopes the birds will incorporate
with established Pelican colonies there.
Despite claims by the Minerals Management Service that
techniques now being used are not effective in returning
healthy birds to the wild, volunteers disagree, and say
the exhausting effort is worth it.
With Brown Pelicans coming off the endangered species
list just last year, volunteers say that every one that
is rescued is worth the effort.
Environmentalist Addresses BP Oil Disaster at SB Museum
of Natural History
June 10 — Ocean enthusiast and environmentalists gathered
at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Wednesday
night to listen to David Helvarg, ... author and founder
of The Blue Frontier Campaign. ...
Helvarg said, "Years
ago i was out on a BP deep water drilling and asked
what happens if you get a blowout...the guy told me
we'll probably see when it happens.”
One giant leap for oiled birds
Bill Nunn / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
June 9 — Rehabilitated birds from Louisiana's
oil-spill zone are being airlifted to a new home that's
famous for flight: NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Six brown pelicans, four laughing gulls and one common
tern were flown from a bird-rescue center at Fort Jackson
in Louisiana to Florida over the weekend. The birds were
released on Sunday at the 140,000-acre Merritt Island National
Wildlife Refuge, which is co-located with the space center. "They
looked pretty normal," the refuge's supervisory park
ranger, Dorn Whitmore, told me today. "They acted
happy to be free again. If pelicans could look happy, that's
how they'd look."
Bird-rescue crews were gearing up for another Louisiana-to-Florida
transfer on Thursday, but Sharon Taylor, a veterinarian
with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Louisiana, said the
trip had to be postponed. "There was a problem with
a last-minute health check," she told me. After the
birds are cleaned up, they need a few days of drying and
preening to make their feathers waterproof again, Taylor
explained. During this evening's final check, she and her
colleagues determined that the feathers weren't quite right
yet. So it'll be another couple of days before the next
airlift can take place. :::snip:::
A Bird's Eye View of the BP Oil Spill
-- NBC News video
June 9 — This news report of the BP oil spill in the Gulf
of Mexico features a "bird's eye view" of the
spill, including footage of the pelican rookery filled
with oiled adult birds and a dead dolphin. Nothing like
taking a close look at the REAL victims of this disaster!
Read on » http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/06/a_birds_eye_view_of_the_bp_oil.php#meor
Oil Spill Answers: Is There Any Way To Keep Birds Away
From the Oil?
By Alisa Opar
06/07/2010 — ...As one reader wrote, "Is
there anything we can do to try at least to get them out
of there before the oil hits, or before it devastates a
whole flock? They do it at airports." Here's what
Butcher, director of bird conservation for the National
Audubon Society, had to say:
The oil is very widespread. The birds are committed to
using their traditional areas. While they are healthy,
they are extremely difficult to catch. If they were caught
and moved, the adults would fly right back. If they were
harassed during the breeding season to try to get them
to move, they would come right back because they are attached
to their eggs and young. Because the oil is so widespread,
the birds would have to move much farther than they would
from an airport.
Prevention is key with oil. Once it is spilled there is
little we can do. Once the leak has stopped and the clean-up
has progressed, we can think about restoring the lost bird
Clean the birds, or kill them?
June 7 — A biologist in Germany has stirred up a fuss with comments
suggesting it makes more sense to kill heavily oiled birds
from the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill disaster than to clean
"According to serious studies, the middle-term survival
rate of oil-soaked birds is under 1 percent," Silvia
Gaus, a biologist at the Wattenmeer National Park along
the North Sea, was quoted as saying on Spiegel Online last
month. "We, therefore, oppose cleaning birds."
Biologists on the scene who are actually involved
in the cleanup tell a slightly different story: Sure,
sometimes it makes sense to euthanize birds who aren’t going
to make it, or leave them to die in their natural habitat.
But ethically speaking, they feel a duty to try saving
the birds if there’s a chance they can be saved.
For example, Rick Steiner, an Alaska marine biologist
who was involved in the 1989 Exxon Valdez cleanup and is
now assisting Greenpeace, said from a boat in the Gulf
that he and the crew turned in a heavily oiled young egret
for cleaning just today.
"It was in horrible shape," he told me via telephone, "and
I doubt seriously that it will survive the day. But,
you know, we caused their pain and suffering, so we owe
it to them to do everything we possibly can to give them
a fighting chance of survival.” ...
During the present crisis, however, the WWF has been supportive
of bird-cleaning. Although it's not directly involved in
oil-spill response, one of its partners on the scene is
the California-based Oiled Wildlife Care Network. And one
of my sources at the WWF deferred to the International
Bird Rescue Research Center, which is heavily involved
in the bird cleanup effort.
Mark Russell, a project
manager at the IBRRC, took strong issue with Gaus' claim
that cleaning is ineffective: He
told me that the studies on which she based her conclusions
suffered from some gaps in procedure. (For example, what
were the rehabilitation practices? Did the monitoring equipment
that was strapped onto the released birds contribute to
their demise? If you can no longer locate a bird with a
transmitter, should you always assume that the bird died?)
Other studies indicate that the survival rate for cleaned-up
birds can be quite high, from 78 to 100 percent, as noted
on the "Living the Scientific Life" blog. And
as bad as those oily pelicans may look in the pictures
from Louisiana, Russell said it's often the oiliest birds
that have the highest survival rate. That's because they
tend to be picked up earlier, before dehydration, hypothermia
and other ills have set in. :::snip:::
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/06/07/4475943-clean-the-birds-or-kill-them (with many comments.)
In Alabama, a Home-Grown Bid to Beat Back Oil
By JOHN LELAND
Published: June 7, 2010
MAGNOLIA SPRINGS, Ala. — James
Hinton looked over a barge jutting into the mouth of
a 6,000-acre estuary last weekend and said, “If we can make this work,
if the oil don’t get in here, 1,275 miles of bay
and river coastline will be protected.”
A day later, Mr. Hinton said: “I could go to jail
for going against unified command. Now, I don’t mind
going to jail, I just need to make sure it’s for
doing the right thing.”
In a month in which Gulf Coast officials have railed about
not being able to protect their shorelines from oil and
not getting support from BP or the unified command structure
set up to handle the cleanup efforts, Mr. Hinton, a volunteer
fire chief in Magnolia Springs, a small town of fewer than
1,000, has emerged as a man with a plan.
“What he’s doing is really admirable,” said
Bethany Kraft, executive director of the Alabama Coastal
Foundation, a nonprofit environmental group. “He’s
taking things into his own hands instead of waiting for
other people to do something about it.”
Mr. Hinton said that so far no other communities had contacted
him about copying his plan. “A fire chief told
me, ‘Jamie, you can slow down in your preparations,
the federal government is going to take care of it.’ I
said, ‘Meaning the way they took care of Katrina,
Ivan and the Valdez spill?’ ”
He added: “If you wait on BP, it’ll
be like Louisiana. They had a month to protect the marshes. The
Bible says the good Lord made the world in seven days.
I’m not going to risk what happened in Louisiana
DERRICK Z. JACKSON
The price of the pelican
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist | June 8, 2010
THE SUBTITLE of the BP oil spill is the
Price of the Pelican. We will never fully know the cost
of this spill to wildlife and wetlands, because it will
continue its slow-motion rampage long after the lawyers
have settled. Rowan Gould, the acting director of the US
Fish and Wildlife Service, said the spill “in all
likelihood will affect fish and wildlife resources in the
Gulf and across the North American continent for years,
if not decades to come.’’
A study in the journal Science, conducted 14 years after
the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound in
1989 and fouled 1,300 miles of Alaskan coastline, found
that pink salmon, sea otters, harlequin ducks were either
still dying or not reproducing at “astounding’’ rates.
Exxon settled with the federal government and the state
of Alaska in 1991 for $1 billion for environmental restoration,
but lead researcher Charles Peterson of the University
of North Carolina said toxic levels of oil from the disaster
continued to contaminate the food chain for wildlife in “surprisingly
large’’ hidden pools in sediment and underneath
Care for Some Crude With Your Sushi?
Posted on: June — The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the
worst environmental disaster the US has faced. Toxic oil
from the Deepwater Horizon well threatens the region's
sensitive shorelines and the nesting birds along the Louisiana
coast. But there's another species at serious risk: the
Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus. This disturbing
video tells you more about their plight, and how this oil
spill could be the last straw that pushes them over the
This special marine podcast takes the form of an urgent
warning about the future of the species. The spawning habitat
of the bluefin tuna overlaps with the oil-spill zone and
the disaster comes right at the peak of spawning season.
The larvae might not withstand the toxic effects of the
The bluefin tuna is already living dangerously close to
the edge thanks to overfishing and climate change. The
Deepwater Horizon catastrophe could wipe out the region's
bluefin populations forever.
Wildlife Toll Mounts as BP Oil Inundates Gulf Coast Marshes
By APRIL REESE of Greenwire
June 7, 2010 — VENICE, La. -- After several hours motoring
through the bays and passes that web across the Mississippi
River Delta, Bob Ford, a wildlife biologist with the Fish
and Wildlife Service, spots a few brown pelicans and frigate
birds perched on the remnants of a hurricane-ravaged barge
platform in Redfish Bay.
As Ford's boat approaches, the birds fly away, and he
watches them through his binoculars as they disappear across
the taupe-gray water.
"At least one of those pelicans had a bit of oil
on it," he says.
It is not enough to inhibit flying, but as the young bird
preens it could ingest the oil.
"It will potentially get into the bloodstream," Ford
says, and that could mean damage to the liver, kidney or
lungs, and possibly death.
The juvenile brown pelican is one of hundreds of birds
harmed by oil spreading from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon
well, about 50 miles southeast of here. The 3,500 square-mile
oil slick, which grows daily as oil continues to well up
from 5,000 feet beneath the ocean's surface, is now reaching
the islands of the Mississippi Delta, fringing wetlands
with toxic black muck and coating wildlife that come into
contact with it. :::snip:::
While much work remains to be done, all the human activity
on the water could inadvertently stress the birds even
more, Murgatroyd said.
"These birds aren't used to seeing so many people," she
says, scanning a birdless island in Redfish Bay from the
stern of a small fishing boat, as another vessel passes
nearby. "We've by default hazed them."
Worsening land loss?
The oiling of wetlands is not only a threat
to wildlife. It could also accelerate the loss of land
along the shrinking Louisiana coast. :::snip:::
here for updated information about FWS's response
to the spill.
The Oil Spill Story Finally Hits Home
by David Walker
June 7, 2010 — Associated Press photographer Charlie
Riedel’s up-close images of brown pelicans soaked
in oil finally brought home the effects of the Gulf oil
spill catastrophe last week. They showed scenes that photographers
have had much difficulty documenting, not only because
of the location of the spill, but because BP and government
officials have worked to keep the spill’s consequences
out of sight—and out of mind.
“It sort of shocked people into thinking this is
real serious,” Riedel says of his widely published
images. “The instances of wildlife being impacted
and photographed were minimal [and as a result] this story,
over a month and a half, became background noise. But this
The spill occurred 50 miles off shore, and oil has reached
coastal areas slowly and haphazardly. Affected areas have
been inaccessible by vehicle. By all accounts, that has
made it difficult and expensive for photographers to cover
the story. “You have to hire a boat to take you out.
That can cost over $1,000 per day,” says Los Angeles
Times photographer Carolyn Cole, who has been covering
the story for her newspaper since April 29.
“Finding rides and finding people who know where
to go is a challenge,” Riedel says. :::snip:::
New Orleans' Brown Pelicans - Ultimate Survivors, From
'Silent Spring' to Gulf Oil Disaster
by Ron Callari
May 27 marked the anniversary of the birth of Rachel Carson,
celebrated author and wildlife conservationist. When her
book Silent Spring was first published in 1962, New Orleans
state bird, the Brown Pelican was on the verge of extinction,
due to pesticides and pollution. Almost 50 years later,
that same bird faces a similar fate from another man-made
disaster. :::snip::: Video: Wildlife Apocalypse: YouTube - unbearably sad and painful to see all those white birds,
the juvenile pelicans, too young to fly away, even if there
were anywhere safe, doomed to starve.
Rate of Oil Leak, Still Not Clear, Puts
Doubt on BP
By JUSTIN GILLIS and HENRY FOUNTAIN
Published: June 7, 2010
The company’s liability will ultimately be determined
in part by how many barrels of oil are spilled.
The immense undersea gusher of oil and
gas, seen on live video feed, looks as big as it did last
week, if not bigger, before the company sliced through
the pipe known as a riser to install its new collection
At least one expert, Ira Leifer, who is
part of a government team charged with estimating the flow
rate, is convinced that the operation has made the leak
worse, perhaps far worse than the 20 percent increase that
government officials warned might occur when the riser
Dr. Leifer said in an interview on Monday
that judging from the video, cutting the pipe might have
led to a several-fold increase in the flow rate from the
“It’s apparent that BP is playing games with us, presumably under
the advice of their legal team,” Dr. Leifer said. “It’s six
weeks that it’s been dumping into the gulf, and still no measurements.” :::snip:::
BP Well Bore And Casing Integrity May Be Blown, Says Florida’s
By: bmaz Monday June 7, 2010 11:15 am
Nelson, one of the most informed and diligent Congressmen
on the BP gulf oil spill issue, has received reports of
leaks in the well, located in the Mississippi Canyon sector.
This is potentially huge and devastating news.
If Nelson is correct in that assertion, and he is smart
enough to not make such assertions lightly, so I think
they must be taken at face value, it means the well casing
and well bore are compromised and the gig is up on containment
pending a completely effective attempt to seal the well
from the bottom via successful “relief wells”.
In fact, I have confirmed with Senator Nelson’s office
that they are fully aware of the breaking news and significance
of what the Senator said to Andrea Mitchell.
I may have been uncomfortably
close to the mark. And the
quote from Sir Richard Mottram was dead on the money; if
Senator Nelson is correct about the breach of fundamental
well integrity, the game is close to over for the Gulf
of Mexico. We shall see where this goes from Nelson’s
initial comment. But make no mistake, Nelson is a careful
guy not prone to overt hyperbole, and he clearly understood
the ramifications of what he was saying.
It also means, of course, that BP and the Obama Administrations
continue to give the American public short shrift in the
truth and honesty departments. How surprising.
BP Fails Booming School 101
June 7, 2010 — BP Fails Booming School 101, creating an
environmental disaster and is failing to take the lead
in cleanup. BP claims they "are prepared" to
deal with such things as an oil spill -- if they are so
prepared, then why is this happening? This video shows
that, contrary to BP's lies about their preparedness, they
actually are NOT prepared AT ALL. Unfortunately, our federal
government is also failing to protect the Gulf from massive
corporate interests that sacrifice the little guy (and
our environment) to the gods of the gawdalmighty dollar.
Read on » http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/06/bp_fails_booming_school_101.php
Gulf oil spill: Wildlife toll grows as more oil washes
June 6, 2010 | 7:50 am
The number of birds found alive and coated in oil throughout
in five Gulf Coast states has nearly doubled to 177,
with 156 of them picked up in Louisiana. But 547 birds
have been found dead, 73 of them oil-soaked. It is not
known whether the others died as a result of the oil,
but experts said that's possible.
Wildlife experts fear that the population of Louisiana's
brown pelicans, which only recently bounced back from near
extinction, could once again be destabilized. "It
made me sick seeing those two oiled birds,” Dantzker
said. “I was incredibly sad.” The group called
a bird hot-line to report the two dying pelicans. In less
than an hour, a boat arrived.
“It was an incredible relief when those guys came
and picked them up,” said Dantzker. “Saving
individual birds is great, but it’s not the answer
to the larger ecological problem.”
Three rescue workers came ashore wearing white coveralls,
plastic gloves and yellow booties,and carrying big nets.
They rushed to the scene with the urgency of paramedics.
It’s not only the birds that are falling prey to
the oil. Oil has been seen on the fins and tails of bottlenose
dolphins as they slowly swim through the polluted waters
off the bay side of Grand Terre Island. They swam behind
a boom stretched 100 yards from shore, but it provides
little protection. A female and her calf surfaced together
while several others could be swimming in the area.
Help Dawn Save Oiled Wildlife
June 6, 2010 — Experiments have shown that Dawn
dishwashing liquid works best to save oiled wildlife and
doesn't burn their tender skin and eyes. According to the
information I've found, Dawn is donating all the detergent
used to clean oiled Gulf of Mexico birds, and is also raising
funds to help with the clean up effort.
Read on » http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/06/help_dawn_save_oiled_wildlife.php#more
Oil Cap “working” while brown pelicans die
Business, News | Stoff | June 6, 2010 at 11:04 am
As of noon, June 5, 57 “visibly oiled” birds
have been found dead since the oil spill began April 20
with the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion off the Louisiana
coast, according to government reports. The death toll,
like the 156 visibly oiled birds found alive so far, has
more than doubled since June 4, figures reflected in the
accounts of boatmen, biologists and rescuers at Grand Isle
Can the Rescued Pelicans Stay Clean?
By LESLIE KAUFMAN
June 6, 2010, 8:37 am — In an article on Saturday
in The Times, my colleague John Rudolf and I wrote about
brown pelicans, ...
The good news is that bird rescue has gotten much better
than it was even 15 years ago. In the 1990s, Dan Anderson,
then a professor at University of California at Davis,
found that California brown pelicans did not recover well
from being cleaned after an oil spill — the stress
of being handled by people helped kill them.
Since then, it has been learned that the birds must be
hydrated, calmed and fed for a day and then cleaned. Their
survival rate has subsequently improved.
But that does not mean that cleaning is a solution for
the rescued bird, says Melanie Driscoll, director of bird
conservation of the Louisiana Coastal Initiative for the
National Audubon Society.
While she praises the bird-cleaning efforts, she wonders
about their long-term effectiveness.
She points out that when the birds return to the wild,
even if they are taken to points far from the spill, their
strong nesting instincts will probably drive them right
Ms. Driscoll said the real priority now should be to protect
nesting colonies on the Atlantic coast of Florida and in
Texas, which have not yet been hit by oil, so they can
be as productive as possible.
Cap Reported to Recover 10,000 Barrels of Oil a Day
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS and HENRY FOUNTAIN
Published: June 6, 2010
Tony Hayward, the chief executive of BP, said in a BBC
interview broadcast Sunday that the containment cap was
allowing engineers to funnel 10,000 barrels of oil a day
up to surface ships.
The ruptured well is leaking an estimated 12,000 to 19,000
barrels of oils day.
“We have a further containment system to implement
in the course of this coming week which will be in place
by next weekend, so when those two are in place, we would
very much hope to be containing the vast majority of the
oil,” Mr. Hayward told the BBC :::snip::: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/us/07capture.html?ref=global-home
The spill has been described as the biggest environmental
disaster in US history.
Mr Hayward told the BBC that BP would restore the Gulf
to its original state.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hayward said: "As
we speak, the containment cap is producing around 10,000
barrels of oil a day to the surface."
His company, he said, was going to stop the leak and take
care of the consequences.
"We're going to clean-up the oil, we're going to
remediate any environmental damage and we are going to
return the Gulf coast to the position it was in prior to
this event. That's an absolute commitment, we will be there
long after the media has gone, making good on our promises."
But the man in charge of the federal efforts to cope with
the spill said no-one should be pleased "as long as
there's oil in the water".
Coast Guard Adm Thad Allen told CNN the spill was "an
insidious enemy that's attacking our shores". :::snip:::
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/us_and_canada/10248409.stm (with graphics of the attempts to cap the leak.)
Delaware team leads wildlife recovery
By ROBIN BROWN • The News Journal • June
Veterinarian Erica Miller holds a young male brown pelican,
gently and slowly stroking his bill with a baby toothbrush
to remove a tar-like coating of dark brown-and-orange oil.
Miller is part of the Oil Spill Response
Team from Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research near Newark.
The team, with 10 members in the Gulf region as of Thursday,
is among more than 22,000 people who have responded after
a BP offshore drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11
and sending a gusher of crude oil -- now estimated as much
as 46 million gallons -- into the Gulf. The Tri-State team
was brought in to lead the wildlife recovery.:::snip:::
Although the bird she's treating is nearly covered with
oil, Miller decides the pelican is strong enough to survive
the cleaning process.
The bird already has dealt with the stresses of capture,
containment and human contact. Ahead is the arduous cleaning
But first, Miller lets the pelican rest. Later, using
gloves, small cloths and cotton swabs, she leads a team
of four in the nearly hour-long cleaning process that will
wash and wipe off the oil. The team goes through about
300 gallons of water hot enough to make them sweat. :::snip:::
People want to help
Since the day after the spill, thousands who want to volunteer
have e-mailed or called Tri-State's headquarters at the
end of Possum Hollow Road.
But team members need extensive training, not just in
oil spill protocols and animal treatment procedures, but
also U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration
policies, said Barbara Druding, president of Tri-State's
board of directors.
To be on site, Tri-State had to sign a contract with BP
that requires everyone to have current OSHA training, hazardous-materials
training, rabies shots and at least six months' rescue
experience, Stout said. BP agreed to reimburse the team's
expenses, but restricted media access and forbade fundraising
for work on the spill.
See: YouTube: Oiled Bird gets Bath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlNaAfE7qx0&feature=player_embedded
The Gulf Oil Spill 9 Most Outrageous Moments
So Far (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
and also an outrageous, shameful inadequate
response in rescuing the seabirds and other wildlife....
Gulf Oil Spill: Cap Placed Over Leak Collecting Only Fraction
Of The Oil
HOLBROOK MOHR and JOHN FLESHER | 06/ 5/10 06:58 PM | AP
ON BARATARIA BAY, La. — The wildlife apocalypse
along the Gulf Coast that everyone has feared for weeks
is fast becoming a terrible reality.
Pelicans struggle to free themselves from oil, thick as
tar, that gathers in hip-deep pools, while others stretch
out useless wings, feathers dripping with crude. Dead birds
and dolphins wash ashore, coated in the sludge. Seashells
that once glinted pearly white under the hot June sun are
Scenes like this played out along miles of shoreline Saturday,
nearly seven weeks after a BP rig exploded and the wellhead
a mile below the surface began belching millions of gallon
of oil. :::snip:::
The oil has steadily spread east, washing up in greater
quantities in recent days, even as a cap placed by BP over
the blownout well began to collect some of the escaping
crude. The cap, resembling an upside-down funnel, has captured
about 252,000 gallons of oil, according to Coast Guard
Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the crisis.
If earlier estimates are correct, that means the cap is
capturing from a quarter to as much as half the oil spewing
from the blowout each day. But that is a small fraction
of the roughly 24 million to 47 million gallons government
officials estimate have leaked into the Gulf since the
April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers, making it the
nation's largest oil spill ever. :::snip:::
With no oil response workers on Queen Bess, Plaquemines
Parish coastal zone management director P.J. Hahn decided
he could wait no longer, pulling an exhausted brown pelican
from the oil, the slime dripping from its wings.
"We're in the sixth week, you'd think there
would be a flotilla of people out here," Hahn said. "As
you can see, we're so far behind the curve in this thing." :::snip:::
"People naturally tend to focus on things that are
most conspicuous, like oiled birds, but in my opinion the
impacts on fisheries will be much more severe," said
Rich Ambrose, director of the environmental science and
engineering at program at UCLA.
The Gulf is also home to dolphins and species including
the endangered sperm whale. A government report found that
dolphins with prolonged exposure to oil in the 1990s experienced
skin injuries and burns, reduced neurological functions
and lower hemoglobin levels in their blood. It concluded,
though, that the effects probably wouldn't be lethal because
many creatures would avoid the oil. Yet dolphins in the
Gulf have been spotted swimming through plumes of crude.
Gilly Llewellyn, oceans program leader with the World
Wildlife Fund in Australia, said she observed the same
behavior by dolphins following a 73-day spill last year
in the Timor Sea.
"A heartbreaking sight," Llewellyn said. "And
what we managed to see on the surface was undoubtedly just
a fraction of what was happening."
The prospect left fishing guide Marino shaking his head,
as he watched the oil washing into a marsh and over the
body of a dead pelican. Species like shrimp and crab flourish
here, finding protection in the grasses. Fish, birds and
other creatures feed here.
"It's going to break that cycle of life," Marino
said. "It's like pouring gas in your aquarium. What
do you think that's going to do?"
US officials under fire as birds succumb to oil
By Allen Johnson (AFP) – (June 4)
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — The US government will
respond to complaints that not enough people are tasked
with rescuing creatures soaked in oil from the Gulf of
Mexico spill, a top US official pledged Friday.
As shocking pictures of helpless birds smothered in thick,
rust-coloured layers of oil emerged, the environmental
group the Sierra Club argued too few people are deployed
on the ground to help the stricken wildlife.
"The scope of this thing is to where it's really
unprecedented," Admiral Thad Allen, the official in
charge of the US government response to the worst US spill
in history, told reporters.
He said in a conference call that cleanup workers now
have a "battle line" stretching from Louisiana
to the Florida panhandle since the oil began spewing into
the Gulf in April.
He pledged the government would respond to the Sierra
Club's complaint that too few rescuers had been deployed
to help oiled pelicans, birds and dolphins off the Louisiana
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, who recently
toured of an oil-threatened pelican breeding ground off
the Louisiana coast in a boat, said he was "struck
by the futility of the clean-up effort."
Miles of protective boom laid off the Louisiana wetlands
only "minimizes" the oil damage to fish and wildlife
and the marsh, he said.
"We saw a couple of brown pelicans drenched in oil
unable to lift themselves out of the water," Brune
told AFP, adding an oiled dolphin also appeared to be suffering.
Brune said more wildlife rescuers are clearly needed,
but he doubts that more boom will do much to stop the surface
oil on the fragile wetlands.
"The booms only go about 18 inches (0.5 meters) down," Brune
"I don't think there's enough boom to cover this
whole region -- no matter what," he said. "The
protection of boom can only go so far."
Brune said he and other Sierra Club members
on the boat trip saw oil coming in the tide and "lapping" over
large portions of protective booms around pelican rookeries
in Barataria Bay. :::snip:::
Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hy9q0Gz_T8hRnPjz_ByueWVSpTdQ
And washes into Florida: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gIXWYBTpLtSayJtg41LKXpxSxVPAD9G4LTFG1
Pelicans and other birds drenched with oil in offshore
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
June 4th, 2010 — Pictures of pelicans encased in
oil and struggling to walk are making it graphically, unequivocally
plain to see that the BP oil disaster is a death knell
for wildlife and ecosystems across the Gulf of Mexico.:::snip:::
Oiled brown pelicans rescued
BP attempts containment cap over leak
* By SANDY DAVIS, Advocate staff writer,
Published: Jun 4, 2010 - Page: 1A
Brown pelicans drenched in black oil were found Thursday
on East Grand Terre Island while BP was attempting to place
a containment cap over the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
The brown pelicans, Louisiana’s state bird, were
found when Gov. Bobby Jindal toured the island to survey
a dredging operation. :::snip:::
and a reader’s important - unanswered
"Oiled Brown Pelicans Rescued" Nine lines in
four very short paragraphs on this topic. Sad...very sad
indeed. I beleive this entire story should have been devoted
to the Title of it, instead, we get the complete history
of the past events and the storyline of what the Federal
Govt. and BP intends to do ...blah, blah,blah........blah,blah,blah.....
Our environment is under 'severe" attack because of
this and it seems like enough is not being done. I am not
an animal rights activist by no means,but after seeing
this video on the news last night of this same bird on
the beach covered with oil,struggling to keep it's head
above the incoming surf, it's very disheartening to say
the least, coming from someone that has witnessed many
sunsets and sunrises on Grand Isle with these beautiful
birds flying through my view as if it were scripted. It
should (have) be(en) published with this article about
where these birds are taken to for cleaning. What should
I do with a pelican if I happen to decide to go out onto
the water myself and see one needing assistance and I decide
to pick him/them up into my boat? Who can i contact to
voluteer to go out and search the marshes and beaches for
affected birds and animal?
Los Angeles Times, front page photo and web gallery: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-html,0,6610369.htmlstory and
LAT environment section with special feature Gulf Oil Spill
BP starts piping leaking oil to ship
Officials are cautiously optimistic that a new cap will
divert most of the crude. Obama visits the gulf and scolds
the company. By Bettina Boxall and Peter Nicholas, Los Angeles
June 4, 2010 — Reporting from Los Angeles and Kenner,
In a sign that BP may be on the verge of subduing its uncontrolled
well, oil started flowing through a containment cap into
a drill ship Friday, even as President Obama chastised
the company for launching a multimillion-dollar advertising
"The paradigm in which BP and the wide industry operates
needs to change," Hayward said.
In addressing criticism for his handling of the disaster,
Hayward said it was "right that I should be the lightning
rod." He added that "stick and stones can hurt
your bones, but will never break them, whatever the expression
Scientists with the University of South Florida said laboratory
tests had confirmed that at least two extensive plumes
detected underwater miles from the leak are from the spill,
the Associated Press reported.
Hayward has said there was no evidence of large underwater
plumes, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
has been reluctant to identify them without conclusive
In its start-up stage, the cap operation was capturing
only a fraction of the estimated 500,000 to 800,000 gallons
of oil that has been rushing into the gulf daily for six
weeks. ... BP and federal officials then shifted to a containment
strategy, involving the cap, while they work on the ultimate
solution: two relief wells, now being drilled, that will
be used to pump cement into the bottom of the damaged well,
permanently sealing it.
Back From Brink of Extinction, Only to Face Threat From
By JOHN COLLINS RUDOLF and LESLIE KAUFMAN
June 4, 2010 — FORT JACKSON, La. — For more
than a decade, the hundreds of brown pelicans that nested
among the mangrove shrubs on Queen Bess Island west of
here were living proof that a species brought to the edge
of extinction could come back and thrive.
The island was one of three sites in Louisiana where the
large, long-billed birds were reintroduced after pesticides
wiped them out in the state in the 1960s.
But on Thursday, 29 of the birds, their feathers so coated
in thick brown sludge that their natural white and gray
markings were totally obscured, were airlifted to a bird
rehabilitation center in Fort Jackson, the latest victims
of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Another dozen were taken
to other rescue centers.
The potential for damage was frighteningly apparent at
the rescue center set up here by the International Bird
Rescue Research Center with BP and federal and state officials.
All day Thursday, oiled birds, including the 29 brown pelicans,
arrived at the makeshift veterinary emergency room built
in a hangar on a former military base. They were carried
from Coast Guard helicopters in dog kennels and cardboard
boxes with air holes punched in them.
Most of the birds were so thoroughly coated in crude that
they could not stand up. Some were stuck to the floor of
their cages. Workers wiped off thick globs of oil with
towels, then gave them fluids and fed them a fish slurry.
The pelicans were placed in plywood pens covered with
blankets. The next morning, workers began to clean them
using hot water and Dawn, a mild dish detergent.
So far, even the most heavily oiled pelicans have survived.
Had they not been treated immediately, however, they would
have almost certainly drowned or died of starvation or
exposure, according to a veterinarian with the United States
Fish and Wildlife Service.
The birds at the rehabilitation center, said Sharon Taylor,
a veterinarian here, represent a lucky few — far
more are certain to die in the wild.
“A lot of them will just disappear into the environment,” she
said. “We will probably only find a very, very small
percentage of what’s been impacted out there.” ...
BP Funneling Some of Leak to the Surface
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS and HENRY FOUNTAIN
Published: June 4, 2010
HOUSTON — BP and government officials said Friday
that a cap installed over a gushing well in the Gulf of
Mexico was funneling some oil and gas to the surface, but
they cautioned that much was still leaking and that it
would be days before they could declare this latest containment
effort a success.
See also: http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/95590054.html
Obama Warns BP on Paying Big Dividends Amid Oil Spill
By MICHAEL COOPER
Published: June 4, 2010
NEW ORLEANS — President Obama visited the Gulf Coast
on Friday and chastised BP for paying billions of dollars
in dividends to shareholders and on advertising to save
its image while some people whose livelihoods were wrecked
by the company’s oil spill were reporting difficulties
in getting their claims paid.
“My understanding is that BP has contracted for
$50 million worth of TV advertising to manage their image
during the course of this disaster,” President Obama
said after meeting with local and federal officials at
the airport near here.
“In addition, there are reports that BP will be
paying $10.5 billion – that’s billion, with
a B – in dividend payments this quarter,” he
continued. “Now I don’t have a problem with
BP fulfilling its legal obligations, but I want BP to be
very clear they’ve got moral and legal obligations
here in the Gulf for the damage that has been done.
Putting a Face on the Gulf Oil Leak
By DAVID W. DUNLAP
The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico finally has a face.
Or, rather, faces — at once primordially familiar
and yet utterly strange under their new bronze patinas.
As close-up photographs begin to appear that document the
insult and injury done to coastal wildlife by the Deepwater
Horizon leak, public pressure on the Obama administration
and BP to stop the leak — stoked by an emotional
response to such troubling images — will surely grow.
These are the faces that government officials and oil
executives may see in their nightmares.
June 3, 2010
Caught in the oil
A short entry - AP Photographer Charlie Riedel just filed
the following images of seabirds caught in the oil slick
on a beach on Louisiana's East Grand Terre Island. As BP
engineers continue their efforts to cap the underwater
flow of oil, landfall is becoming more frequent, and the
effects more evident. (8 photos total)
Wildlife rescue effort is a challenge in the gulf
A team of experts combs the bayous and open waters off
Louisiana for dead or suffering creatures. The search
is nothing like the one in the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.
By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times
9:22 PM PDT, June 3, 2010
Reporting from Pass-a-Loutre, La.
The small boat approached four pelicans perched on a rusty
platform emerging from the flat green waters of the Gulf
of Mexico on this steaming hot and windless day. They peered
down their long beaks at the vessel. Then, as if teasing
the humans spying on them through binoculars, two of the
birds spread their wings and soared away just as the boat
"I certainly believe this has the potential to be
a huge ecological disaster," said Barnhill, one of
about three dozen people stationed on a houseboat about
35 miles off Louisiana's southeastern tip.
Each morning, wildlife teams deploy from here to scour
the region, using information gleaned from satellite images
of the oil slick, knowledge of bird colonies' expected
locations, and from reports at a central command center
of possible wildlife in distress. They are among an army
of hundreds, from state, federal and environmental organizations,
spread out across the gulf.
At night, the workers input their findings into a data
system to steer their search efforts. Bird, fish and reptile
tallies appear on colorful charts, and the latest oil sightings
are quickly mapped for morning deployments.
This time, the oil is lighter in
weight and color. Some wildlife can function, for awhile
at least, if soiled. That makes it hard to determine which
animals should be caught. Once captured, the creatures
must be hurriedly sent to a rehabilitation center on land
to avoid becoming overheated. And because it is difficult
for searchers to blanket such a huge area — the waters closed to fishing
alone cover 76,000 square miles — scavengers probably
are devouring some affected animals before they can be
So far, the number of captured or dead fish, birds, mammals
and reptiles seems low in relation to the amount of oil
that has spilled: On Wednesday the tally included 522 birds,
with an additional 82 rescued. Searchers had found 228
dead sea turtles and 29 dead mammals, including dolphins.
Most creatures did not show obvious signs of being in contact
with oil, but it is possible they were affected in ways
not immediately visible.
Wildlife experts fear the numbers belie the scope of the
toll. The reeds and bayous prove perfect hiding spots for
wildlife that might be ailing. Also, biologists suspect
that dead wildlife is probably sinking at sea.
"It's nice to protect the birds, but it's the whole
ecosystem that's critical," Barnhill said.
"It's the basis for the food chain. ...
"I honestly believe we have a catastrophe to deal
with, and resources are very limited," said Domino,
whose sunburned face speaks to his years as a fisherman. "We're
fighting a war in Afghanistan, and we have soldiers in
Iraq. We just came through Katrina," he said, describing
the fear of gulf residents that their lives have been irrevocably
changed by this.
It's impossible to keep wildlife away from the oil as
it moves, said Rhonda Murgatroyd, one of the managing directors
of the wildlife rescue efforts.
"Birds know no boundaries," she said.
GALLERY | Flyover of Deepwater Horizon site
THE MIAMI HERALD - Brown pelicans rest on a recently cleaned
island in the Chandeleur Islands in the Gulf of Mexico
on Wednesday, June 2, 2010. ..
June 3, 2010
Video: Birds drenched in oil
Posted: 06:36 PM ET
Anderson Cooper AC360° Anchor
Site Gives Turtle Tops Odds for Extinction Due to Oil
Updated: Wednesday, 02 Jun 2010, 11:17 AM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 02 Jun 2010, 11:01 AM CDT
(CANVAS STAFF REPORTS) - Odds are that the Gulf oil spill
will cost more than BP's profit margin in the end. Entire
species of animals are at risk. And PaddyPower.com , a
gambling website, is letting people bet on which may go
A story by Greenwire on The New York Times reports that
odds are that the Kemp's Ridley turtle would be the first
to go. A $5 bet would win $9 if it becomes extinct because
of the spill.
According to Mother Nature Network , the Kemp's Ridley
turtle is an endangered species that migrates along the
coastline from Mexico to Florida.
PaddyPower.com gives 6-to-4 odds to the blue fin tuna,
8-to-1 odds to brown pelicans and the leatherback sea turtle.
Payout rates for the gulf sturgeon, elkhorn coral and smalltooth
sawfish are 20-to-1. :::snip::: http://www.kljb.com/dpps/news/site-gives-turtle-tops-odds-for-extinction-due-to-oil-spill-dpgoha-20100602-fc_7866334
Dying, dead marine wildlife paint dark, morbid picture
of Gulf Coast following oil spill
BY Matthew Lysiak In Grand Isle, La. and Helen Kennedy
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERSOriginally Published:Wednesday,
June 2nd 2010, 12:52 AM Updated: Wednesday, June 2nd 2010,
Here's what President Obama didn't see when he visited
the Gulf Coast: a dead dolphin rotting in the shore weeds.
"When we found this dolphin it was filled with oil.
Oil was just pouring out of it. It was the saddest darn
thing to look at," said a BP contract worker who took
the Daily News on a surreptitious tour of the wildlife
disaster unfolding in Louisiana.
His motive: simple outrage.
"There is a lot of coverup for BP. They specifically
informed us that they don't want these pictures of the
dead animals. They know the ocean will wipe away most of
the evidence. It's important to me that people know the
truth about what's going on here," the contractor
"The things I've seen: They just aren't right. All
the life out here is just full of oil. I'm going to show
you what BP never showed the President." :::snip:::
On Monday, a Daily News team was escorted away from a
public beach on Elmer's Island bycops who said they were
taking orders from BP.
BP spokesman Toby Odone denied the company is trying to
hide the environmental damage; he noted BP has organized
press visits to the spill zone and said BP cannot tell
cops what to do.
The contractor for BP said the public needs to see the
"BP is going to say the deaths of these animals wasn't
oil-related," he said. "We know the truth. I
hope these pictures get to the right people - to someone
who can do something."
Louisiana's state bird, the brown pelican, under assault
from spreading oil, biologists say
By Bob Marshall, The Times-Picayune
photos by Ellis Lucia/The Times-Picayune
June 01, 2010, 5:48PM — State and federal wildlife agencies
spent four decades rebuilding Louisiana's pelican population
after it was decimated by the insecticide DDT. This brown
pelican was photographed Sunday in the marsh near Pass
From a distance the small grass and mangrove islands on
the eastern side of Barataria Bay seem like the happiest
places on the planet for a brown pelican. More than 1,500
of Louisiana's gregarious state birds are noisily consumed
with bringing their next generation into the wetlands.
Parents sit on tall nests of sticks and grass that cradle
fist-sized eggs, or constantly wing between the bay and
the island bringing meals to newly-hatched chicks - tiny,
featherless, bony creatures that look more like dinosaurs
But a slim line separates domestic joy from tragedy. It's
the brown line of oil sludge gripping the islands at the
tidal waterline, a chemical cocktail that could at least
injure and probably kill any birds that wade through it.
This year it could be a line that decimates an entire generation
of Louisiana pelicans, biologists say.
"Young pelicans love to go down to that zone when
they first start to walk, because they like getting out
of the nest and moving around," said Mike Carloss,
biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and
Fisheries. "But if they get in there with a fresh
wave of oil, the result could be devastating." :::snip:::
BP's massive spill threatens Gulf's vast undersea lifeBY
WASHINGTON -- As the magnitude of BP's oil spill becomes
clearer, scientists fear the volume of oil, the depth of
the leak and the chemical dispersants the company is using
will combine to threaten a vast array of undersea life
At risk are such endangered species as Kemp's ridley sea
turtles and the Atlantic bluefin tuna, as well as the Gulf
of Mexico's 8,300 other creatures from plankton to birds.
The contamination, some say, is likely to undo years of
work that brought some wildlife, such as the brown pelican,
back from the brink of extinction.
"It's probably going to be one of the worst disasters
we've ever seen," said Paul Montagna, a professor
of ecology at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of
Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi.
"Instead of creating a typical spill, where the oil
goes to the surface and you can scoop it up, this stuff
has been distributed throughout the water column, and that
means everything, absolutely everything, is being affected," he
Further complicating the toxic effects of the oil, the
chemical dispersants - used as never before a mile below
the surface - have changed the crude in ways that will
keep it from breaking down.
The dispersants have modified the oil, keeping it in a
form that's "much gooier and much oilier, and that
has a lot of us worried, because it means the stuff is
not going to degrade very easily," said James H. Cowan
Jr., a professor of biological oceanography at Louisiana
State University in Baton Rouge. Because of the high pressure
deep underwater, it's harder for dispersants to break up
the oil, he said.
"A lot of us suspect that we may be dealing with this
for decades," Cowan said.
BP's use of the dispersants also is likely to keep the
damage hidden. :::snip:::
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/30/1655456/bps-massive-spill-threatens-gulfs.html#ixzz0prZ7uych
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