How does the Deepwater Horizon oil spill compare to the historical monster of Exxon Valdez, by which we judge all oil disasters? How long will this go on?
We went back to the records of Valdez to look at its size and what we might lay ahead.
- In the Valdez spill Scientific American reports that 2,000 sea otters, 302 harbor seals and about 250,000 seabirds died in the first few days. So far we have only 2 birds in care that I know of.
- Rescuers retrieved a total of 36,471 carcasses and captured 1,630 live birds, the IBRRC reports.
- The Valdez spill was March 24, 1989. The last wildlife rehab center closed September 6 of that year. The Deepwater Horizon spill was on April 22, 2009. By that measure, rehabbers will be on the scene until early October.
- By the 10th day of the Valdez oil spill, rescuers were finding 180 oiled birds per square mile, the Coast Guard reported.
- The oil spread so far in Prince William Sound that rescuers had to set up four wildlife care centers. They’ve already set up three down south. There are Oiled Bird Rescue Centers in Fort Jackson, Louisiana, Theodore, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida.
- How long will it take the wildlife to recover? Here’s the really scary part. They’re still digging up oil in Valdez and some species are still recovering.
- International Bird Rescue Research Center, based in California, started when after 1971 spill by the Golden Gate Bridge killed 96% of birds collected.
- Tri-State Bird is based in Delaware and handles spills up and down the east coast. They offers training for general bird care and oil spills. Tri-State started after a 1976 spill in the Delaware River.
- Oiled Wildlife Care Network would help manage the turtles and marine mammals potentially hurt by the spill. Also based in California, the center has posted channels for volunteers in different states.
- How Will the Gulf’s Dead Zone Impact the Oil Spill?
- Wildlife Rescuers in Gulf Overwhelmed–By Volunteers, Not Patients