Weighing in on Matters of Life and Death

When wildlife are affected by oil spills, should cleaning and rehabilitation be the primary response? Or would immediate euthanasia be the more responsible option for oiled animals and U.S. conservation budgets?

OWCN Director Mike Ziccardi and California Department of Fish and Wildlife Environmental Scientist Laird Henkel weigh in on this ongoing public debate in an opinion essay recently published in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management.

The essay, “Life and Death: How Should We Respond to Oiled Wildlife?”, advocates for a coordinated response to oiled wildlife that includes cleaning and rehabilitation. Mike and Laird assert that the care of oiled animals is worth the time and resources spent, and offer financial, scientific, ethical and legal rationale for this approach. Learn more in this week’s CDFW Science Spotlight.

Two people clean a oiled pelican.

OWCN team members wash and treat a brown pelican affected by the Refugio oil spill in 2015.

On a related note, Mike was recently interviewed by NPR affiliate station 89.3 KPCC’s Take Two program about new data that indicates the efforts to save birds harmed by marine oil spills may be more effective than ever before. He shares how pelicans are recovering three years after the Refugio oil spill. Listen to the interview (starts at 25:15). You can also follow Mike on Twitter.

Related: Brown Pelican Alive and Well, 3 Years After the Refugio Oil Spill!

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