A team from the US-based
International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) has arrived
at the Westkuestenpark, in St. Peter Ording where hundreds
of sea birds are being treated for oil contamination.
A freighter, leaking 2.8 tons waste fuel off the
coast of northwest Germany in the region of West Holstein
is affecting the areas sea birds, including red-throated
loons, common eiders and common scoters, many of which have
died from the spill. Hundreds more are being rescued and treated
at a new rehabilitation center, which was still in the final
stages of construction, purposely built by the International
Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to treat oiled birds.
The rescue and rehabilitation of oiled wildlife
in Germany is a recent development, as thousands of oiled
birds in a prior spill in this area (Pallas, 1998), were ordered
shot or clubbed to death because German wildlife authorities
did not believe oiled birds could be saved.
IBRRC, whose oil response team has treated as
many as 20,000 oiled birds at one time, has achieved success
rates as high as 90% when allowed to respond to oiled wildlife
immediately after spills.
After the Pallas spill in 1998, IFAW funded $350,000
to Westkustenpark, a wildlife sanctuary in St. Peter Ording
in Schleswig-Holstein to build an oiled wildlife rehabilitation
center. The area, which includes many islands and salt marshes,
is an important migratory stop and breeding ground for seabirds
and is constantly threatened by pollution from spills and
discharge from the many rivers
flowing into it.
There has been a proposal to designate the Wadden
Sea as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA), which would
allow stricter regulation of ship routing and waste discharge.
IBRRC, a non-profit organization headquartered in California,
is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of birds affected
by oil spills around the world.
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