Wild Care: A Chance For Native Wildlife

Weekly updates from Wild Care, a local and IFAW funded wildlife rehabilitation center on Cape Cod.

Oiled_loon_3 It has been a sad week for water birds. Several loons have been recovered from different areas on the Cape. When I got the call Wednesday evening at 7pm that an oiled loon had arrived at Wild Care, I immediately went to meet Lela, the Director, to have a look myself.

Oiled wildlife have been part of Wild Care's rehabilitation program for years. For example, often times a duck ends up swimming in the wrong part of the marina at the wrong time; at the same time a parked boat begins leaking motor oil into the water. This type oil is very different from crude oil (One of the major differences is the thickness; crude oil is a lot thicker). The oil smothering the loon that had just arrived, had all the aroma qualities of crude oil.

Oiled_loon_2 The loon was reported and rescued from Marconi Beach in Welfleet, MA (thanks to a dedicated volunteer!!) and underwent fluid therapy immediately. Lela grew increasingly concerned as she began to notice signs of internal damage, a result from the loon ingesting the oil. The next morning we would soon find out the that although only 10% of the loon's body was covered in oil, it was thick enough to take his/her life. Unfortunately the loon did not survive.

Identifying the source of the oil and furthermore determining the "oil spills" impact on additional wildlife is always difficult. Feather samples are collected for reference and local agencies such as the coast guard are notified. However, these steps do not always lead to an answer. Unfortunately it usually takes a good number of wildlife to fall victim before the source/area of concern is identified. (Read more about IFAW's Oiled Wildlife Program.)

On a better note, Wild Care's infamous terrapin is still growing strong. He in slowly adapting well to his new salt water environment and is as ambitious as ever! Watch this feeding video:

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