IFAW ER Team helps wildlife at Estonia oil spill

Monday, 6 February, 2006
Tallinn, Estonia
An international team of wildlife experts from IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) is trying to save thousands of seabirds caught in a 20 tonne oil spill off the north east coast of Estonia.
The oil spill reached shore on January 28 and has spread to affect more than 50 kilometers of coastline around Ristna, Estonia. To date, more than 2,000 dead birds have washed up on the beach. IFAW estimates an additional 10,000 seabirds are at risk from the spill. Most of the birds impacted are long tailed ducks and golden eye ducks, other species include mute swans and great crested grebes.

“At present there are several small facilities caring for several hundred birds that have been rescued and we are now setting up a centralized main rehabilitation center in Keila, near Tallinn,” said Dr. Ian Robinson, the IFAW ER Team Manager. “The birds are suffering from dehydration and hypothermia because of the oil on their feathers. Once they are brought to the rehabilitation center they are give a medical check by a veterinarian, including blood tests. We then feed them fluids by tube and once they are strong enough they can go through a specialized washing process before being put into recovery tanks to regain their water-proofing. Hopefully once they are fully recovered we will release them back into the wild. Because the oil is trapped by the ice along the coastline it is extremely difficult to clean up and it could affect wildlife for some time to come.”

IFAW’s Emergency Relief team includes veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators from the US, UK, Germany, Belgium and Brazil. The team is working with the Estonian Fund for Nature and the Environment Ministry and local volunteers. The cause of the spill is under investigation.

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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Gail A'Brunzo, Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy