Squirrel stalls car with 6 lbs of peanuts; Why not to try “suicide by bear”

Ambitious English squirrel used Kia as stash. Killer, buying the grizzly attack myth, tried to commit suicide by bear by ODing in Yellowstone. Yellowstone bison saved by public. More animal news

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Manatees Not Showing Oil, But Dying a Lot

Manatee, by Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

So far no manatee has turned up oiled after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill earlier this year. But 656 of the goofy, endangered marine mammals have turned up dead, according to the latest statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. That’s a devastating 13% of the population. The biggest problem was a cold spell last winter, but we may never know if or what role the oil had.

Cathy Beck, who manages the Manatee Individual Photo-identification System (MIPS),  says the oil spill was “extremely worrisome,” but so far no oiled manatees in the area where the oil spread. Their next concern is that the remaining oil will seep into the seagrass manatees eat. They’ll be on the lookout for any oil or dispersant residue this winter when they capture 10 or so (as they do each year) and give them a physical, including testing blood and tissue samples.

Defenders of Wildlife, Save the Manatees and other wildlife groups sued BP saying they violated the Endangered Species Act by harming the 27 threatened or  endangered species that live in the gulf.

Save the Manatees says that the big problem was the cold weather at the beginning of the year, which also lead to spectacular photos and record manatees counts (5,076) as the manatees crowded around natural springs and power plants to stay warm. “In total, more than 300 manatees are believed to have died from this lingering event, shattering the previous

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How is the Money BP Pledged to Help Turtles Being Spent?

BP is funding recovery of the endangered sea turtles “I think the consensus in the turtle community is that there’s no harm keeping healthy animals safe. That was the emphasis of our request for funding. I think that was by far the most important thing in our mind,” says George.

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Help Stop Sending Kemp’s Ridley Turtle Hatchlings Into the Gulf Oil Spill

My personal opinion is, what’s the harm of trying? It could be a total disaster if the oil spill continues and spreads. Why not spend some money to keep these turtles out of the way?

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BP To Have Biologist On Board (Looking for Sea Turtles) When They Resume Oil Burns This Week

BP oil  burns

When BP restarts burning off spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico (possibly as early as Friday), they’ll have to have a trained biologist on board to search for sea turtles entrapped in the muck, thanks to a deal struck with wildlife groups July 2.

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The Price of All This Cleaning Up Oiled Wildlife?

BP sign from alvez modified by animaltourism.com

Wildlife rescuers in the gulf are getting so few oiled animals they’re starting to worry that the cost per animal seem ridiculous. After Exxon we had reports of “$80,000 otters.” If you hear anything about a $300,000 sea gull, be skeptical.

Mike Ziccardi, a veterinarian who runs Oiled Wildlife Care Network, has been offering the most candid and complete news on the wildlife situation on their blog. He’s been bracing for both an onslaught of injured animals and a backlash against the cost of saving them. “This response is likely to be very costly when it is all said and done – especially if compared on a “per-bird” or “per-turtle/mammal” basis (or at least I hope it is, as that will imply low animal numbers),” he writes today. Continue reading The Price of All This Cleaning Up Oiled Wildlife?

Valdez: A Comparison for Wildlife

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. Where to Go to See Wildlife Where to Go See Wildlife Down South RESCUE GROUPS International Bird Rescue Research Center, based in

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Where Are All Those Oil-Soaked Birds We Were Expecting?


One peculiar thing about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill so far: hardly any wildlife covered in oil. The lack of  oiled birds has mystified rescuers and exasperated the media. TV networks are clamoring for images, showing clip files and giving the impression that tons of animals are showing up hurt. That’s not so–at least not yet.

Mike Ziccardi, a vet and director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network,  says on the OWCN blog that he got into a spat with “a fairly irate reporter from a major national news outlet” who demanded video access to the necropsy (animal autopsy) of some sea turtles. The network were desperate for dead turtle images even though the turtles didn’t show initial signs of oiling and, as Ziccardi pointed out, were in found in a time and place typical of stranded turtles. (The other big threat to turtles is shrimp boats, Wallace Nichols from Grupo Tortuguero points out.)

Keith Olbmermann started a broadcast this week in ominous tone about “as dead jellyfish begin to wash up on the Mississippi coast.” Dead jellyfish might be the one bright spot of the oil spill, given that the Gulf Dead Zone has caused a plague of jellyfish in the gulf.

A brown pelican is only second bird to be treated. Photo by IBRRC

Apparently California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger so expected oiled wildlife images that he dreamed some up. He just announced that he was withdrawing support for drilling off California’s shores: “I see

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Wildlife Rescuers in Gulf Overwhelmed–By Volunteers, Not Patients

San Francisco Oil Spill - Partially Oiled Gull

Oiled gull in CA in 2007 by Ingrid Taylar. Not many oiled birds seen yet in the gulf.

So far only a single bird, a Northern Gannett, has shown up oiled from the massive Deepwater Horizon spill. Wildlife rescuers and nonetheless overwhelmed–by all the untrained human volunteers.

As the potential for the spill gets bigger, the big wildlife groups are contemplating holding training classes to equip the would-be volunteers, says Kai Williams, executive director of the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council.

Right now several groups are taking in information from potential volunteers.  The National Wildlife Federation is directing people to sign up with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.

 “If you have the ability to restain an animal, that’s going to be huge, just the basic ability to hold an animal,” says Williams. “They’re getting a lot of untrained people, not wildlife rehabilitators, people who have never picked up a bird.”

What makes planning the response so hard is no one knows how big this still-developing catastrophe is going to be or when and where a rush of injured animals will show up. Some contemplate that the Gulf Stream could wrap it around Florida. Some worry the spill could end up bigger than Valdez. Williams notes that fewer birds live in Valdez, but there are also turtles and marine mammals to worry about.

The northern gannet is being bathed, fed electrolytes and pepto bismal, but rough weather this weekend prevented picking up more patients. A caretaker

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How Will the Gulf’s Dead Zone Impact the Oil Spill?

The Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico may collide with an area already bedeviled by environmental catastrophe, the infamous Dead Zone–an area of essentially no life or oxygen. So what happens when an inexorable oil slick meets and an undead patch of water?

The Gulf’s Dead Zone is about 6,000 to 7,000 square miles, one of the biggest in the world, Microbial Life Educational Resources of Carleton College says. It’s caused by fertilizer run-off in the Mississippi overfeeding algae. Phytoplankton gobble up the algae–and all the oxygen. Scientists call the areas hypoxia–or low oxygen. They can’t support life.

The oil spill so far is smaller, about 1,800 square miles. So far.

Right now the dead zone is west of the Mississippi and the oil spill is east of it. The dead zone is mainly at the bottom, which is littered with phytoplankton carcasses. The oil is on top.

But Nancy N. Rabalais, Ph.D., executive director of Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium thinks they’re likely to meet.

“If the winds continue from the southeast as is common this time of year, then the surface manifestation may move to the west of the Mississippi River delta and become a surface feature of the Louisiana area of hypoxia,” says

Some seem to have fantasized that the oil burn off will end up cleaning up the dead zone. Not so, says Rabalais. “The burn would reduce the more volatile and toxic components,” [in the oil] she says, but not burn off the algae.


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