Why A Biologist Says We Should Kill, Not Clean, The Oil-Covered Birds

Why A Biologist Says We Should Kill, Not Clean, The Oil-Covered Birds June 8, 2010

Tree Hugger explains the advice of Sylvia Gaus, biologist at the Wattenmeer National Park along the North Sea in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, in Der Spiegel:

This may shock many, and the advice certainly appears contrary to that of the myriad conservationists who have set up centers around the Gulf to care for oiled birds.

Despite the short-term success in cleaning the birds and releasing them back into the wild, few, if any, have a chance of surviving, says Silvia Gaus, a biologist at the Wattenmeer National Park along the North Sea in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

“According to serious studies, the middle-term survival rate of oil-soaked birds is under 1 percent,” Gaus says. “We, therefore, oppose cleaning birds.”

Instead, she says, it would be less painful for the birds to kill them quickly, or to let them die in peace.

Cleaning Birds Worse than Letting Them Die?
Capturing and scrubbing the birds is a traumatic experience, and is incredibly stressful for the birds. Gaus also says that forcing birds to ingest coal solutions like Pepto Bismol as rescue workers are doing in the Gulf is ineffective, and that the birds will die from liver and kidney damage anyways. Birds ingest the toxic oil while attempting to clean their feathers.

Is there ever any news related to this disaster which is not dispiriting?

Thanks go to Susan for the link.

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