IFAW responds to oil spill in Patagonia

Wednesday, 2 January, 2008
Yarmouth Port, Mass
IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) has mobilized a team to respond to an oil spill in Patagonia, Argentina. The spill, of unknown origin, was first detected on December 26th along the coast of Chubut Province approximately 1,740 km south of Buenos Aires.
“The overall spill is made up of several slicks, two to three kilometers wide along a total extension of approximately forty kilometers,” reported the local newspaper El Chubut. The Argentine government is analyzing recent satellite imagery to determine the cause of the spill but has yet to determine where the oil came from. According to local media reports, several corporations are suspected of causing the spill.
Locally, IFAW is working with The Fundación Patagonia Natural (FPN) on site. Currently the center is caring for 430 birds. Oil spill clean-up is underway and being handled by the Argentine Navy.
The Argentine Government is supporting the development of an on-site facility, as well as supplies and equipment needed, to care for animals. IFAW has been asked to help manage the wildlife response and has sent veterinarians and oil spill responders to help rehabilitate wildlife impacted by the spill.
Currently, there are steamer ducks, Magellanic penguins, silvery grebes, cormorants and crested grebes among the birds in care. The steamer ducks and Magellanic penguins are the highest conservation priority as both are listed as near threatened by Birdlife International. Oiled animals are coming in from as far away as 40 km.  An organized search and collection of oiled animals is underway.

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