Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rescuing Birds in the California Oil Spill

58, 000 thousand gallons

....of bunker fuel, no less! *

From Access News:

The University of California Davis is still leading the charge Monday in continued wildlife rescue efforts following the 60,000 gallon fuel oil spill in San Francisco Bay last week.

Three veterinarians and a veterinary technician arrived at Fort Mason Wednesday to organize the rescue effort and begin treating injured birds. By that afternoon there were 21 seabirds being treated, all of them surf scoters, according to UC Davis veterinarian Michael Ziccardi, director of the California Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

The Cordelia center is a 12,000-square-foot, $2.7 million facility capable of caring for up to 1,000 sick birds. It is the major Northern California rescue center in the statewide Oiled Wildlife Care Network, which comprises nine rescue facilities and 25 organizations prepared to care for oiled wildlife on short notice.

At each California rescue center, UC Davis wildlife veterinarians work in partnership with local, trained wildlife rehabilitators. At the Cordelia center, those rehabilitators are staff members of the International Bird Rescue Research Center.

CNN notes that the oil spill could effect wildlife and fishing for many years to come. The link also has pictures and video links.

Fisherman and the general public are also effected. The CBS5 Site reports that

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom also proclaimed a state of local emergency Tuesday as a result of the worst Bay Area spill in nearly two decades, citing the possible conditions of "extreme peril" to local residents that have arisen.

Fishermen concerned about contamination from the spill had sought a halt to Bay fishing activity. The governor's action delays Thursday's scheduled start of the highly anticipated commercial season for Dungeness crab and interrupts the catch of sturgeon, halibut and other species by sportfishermen.

...(Governor Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that) "The oil spill was the result of "unbelievable human failure," he said. "Then on top of it, it takes that long to react to the oil spill so by the time the next day comes around, the oil is all over the bay."

* Bunker Fuel: Environmentalists have called for a ban on the type of oil that spilled into the bay:

Sticky, packed with pollutants and slow to break down, the type of oil spilled into the San Francisco Bay by a cargo ship is an ecological nightmare loose on the waves, say environmentalists.

The spill, which has prompted a massive cleanup and federal investigation, inspired the group Friends of the Earth to ask Congress to ban the use of so-called bunker fuel.

"Bunker fuel is the dirtiest fuel on the planet," said Teri Shore, campaign director for the marine program at Friends of the Earth, which has started a petition drive seeking a ban.

Update 11/15 - People are helping in the most unusual ways. Read Hecate's post titled Locks of the Bay


International Bird Rescue Center

Save the Bay

Marine Mammal Center

Wildlife Rescue Effort - Palo Alto

Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley

California Raptor Center at UC Davis

Gaia's Guardians

To report oil sightings call (415) 398-9617
To report oiled wildlife call (415) 701-2311
To submit a claim for oiled property call 888-850-8486

Further Information:

Cleaning Wildlife Improves After '71 Spill

Video: Caring for Birds

Let's Praise Selfless Bird Volunteers

Governor Halts Fishing, Blasts Oil Response

Here's How You Can Help
- from Gary Bogue, Contra Costa Times:

Here’s how you can do it:

Organizations and caring people who do this work can ALWAYS use donations of funds and materials or ideas to help them do their jobs.

** International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia:
This is a nonprofit organization that is cleaning oil off the birds caught in the San Francisco Bay oil spill, even as we speak. Donations help them cover many expenses and keep their facility staffed with volunteers. Find out how you can help by going to the Web site at

If you don’t have a computer, just send a tax-deductible check or money order to: IBRRC, 4369 Cordelia Road, Fairfield, CA 94534. Questions? Call: 707-207-0380 ext. 109.


Have you ever seen the San Francisco Bay? It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Or, at least, it was.

It's been my experience both as a wildlife rahabilitor and as someone who follows this sort of news, that 50% of the birds treated will still die. Blessings on those out there who are saying as many creatures as they can. This is backbreaking, heart wrenching work.

Wildfires, earthquakes and now this. Our thoughts and best wishes are with our friends in California.


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