tagged w/ Manatees
Death Toll Sets New Mortality Record With More Than 460 In 2013
... and it's only April
Manatees Continue To Be Exposed To Life-Threatening Illnesses And Need Your Help
While manatees are suffering from catastrophic red-tide-related mortality in southwest Florida, another threat is claiming manatee lives at an alarming rate on the state's east coast, in Brevard County. A large and growing number of manatees have died of unknown but presumed natural causes, possibly from a different toxin or toxic syndrome, in Brevard since 2012. With vast amounts of Brevard's seagrass wiped out from a huge die off, it is unknown if manatees may be accessing other food sources or contaminants that are making them sick and killing them. With your support, we have already increased efforts to better understand and, if possible, correct what is killing these manatees on the east coast, but more help is needed.
http://www.savethemanatee.org/psa_spring_13_half.JPGDeath Toll Sets New Mortality Record With More Than 460 In 2013 ... and it's... more
Manatees in Southwest Florida are suffering from exposure to red tide, in a bloom that has persisted since September 2012. Most recently, the highest concentrations have appeared in Pine Island Sound in Lee County, and in Sarasota County. Pine Island is an important manatee feeding ground, particularly during the winter months, when hundreds of manatees are congregated in the Orange River. Manatees in this area are first trying to find refuge from the cold, then finding themselves exposed to fatal toxins when they go out to feed. More than 100 miles of coastline and manatee habitat are affected by some level of red tide, from Sarasota to Lee County, and into the Florida Keys. In recent weeks, the number of manatee deaths and rescues from red tide has greatly increased.
Red tide acts as a neurotoxin in manatees, giving them seizures that can result in drowning without human intervention. Thankfully, if manatees exposed to red tide can be moved out of the affected area by trained biologists and stabilized at a critical care facility, their prognosis is very good. Remember to call 1-888-404-3922 IMMEDIATELY if you see a manatee that may be suffering from red tide exposure or any other injury.
At least 174 manatees in southwest Florida have already died from red tide exposure in 2013, and an additional 33 manatees died from this cause in 2012. In recent weeks, many more have been found alive, suffering from red tide toxicity, and successfully rescued and transported to a critical care facility. These stabilized red-tide affected manatees can't be released back into their home waters where they could be re-exposed to deadly red tide, but space is needed at the critical care facilities to accommodate new red tide victims and manatees suffering from cold stress, watercraft strikes, or other ailments.
The Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), of which SMC is a charter member, has decided to move now-healthy manatees to secondary care facilities until the red tide subsides and they can be released. This is where we need your help. With so many manatees currently in rehabilitation and new facilities coming on line to assist in the care of red tide affected manatees, funds are needed to feed all of these hungry manatees. Even when wild plants are harvested and transported, which is less expensive than supplying boxes of produce, the costs add up. SMC is committed to helping these manatees, but we need the help of our dedicated members to make this happen.
While manatees are suffering from red tide in the southwest, another threat is claiming manatee lives on the east coast, in Brevard County. Several dozen manatees have died of unknown but presumed natural causes, possibly from a different toxin, in Brevard since 2012. With most of Brevard's seagrass wiped out from a huge die off, it is unknown if manatees may be accessing another food source that is making them sick and killing them.
Clearly, Florida's manatees need your help right now. Please make a donation to our Emergency Rescue Fund today so we can be equipped to help manatees anytime and anywhere that help is needed.
Aquatic Biologist, Executive Director
Save the Manatee Club
About SMC Contact Us Donate Nowhttp://www.savethemanatee.org/ Manatees in Southwest Florida are suffering from... more
A deadly algae bloom is causing a record number of manatee deaths off the southwest coast of Florida.
http://www.examiner.com/article/manatees-dying-record-numbers-red-tide-off-southwest-florida-coastA deadly algae bloom is causing a record number of manatee deaths off the southwest... more
CITES conference risks driving a split in international efforts (by UN Agreements) on the conservation of speciesProtecting elephants, manatees and polar bears: the elusive commodity of international cooperation
On the 3rd of March the international body established to manage trade in endangered species (CITES) will meet in Bangkok, in line with its 3 year political cycle. The fate of many species including elephants, manatees and polar bears is on the agenda and Governments around the world are now firming up their positions to accept or reject proposals to give each of the species greater levels of international protection.
CITES is one of the five biodiversity conventions complemented by another that conserves migratory species (CMS), another on wetlands and on World Heritage and the high profile convention on biological diversity. The intent is that there should be ‘synergy’ and ‘cooperation’ between each convention. In the main their objectives complement each other. The Secretariats for each have developed various accords about ‘sharing information’ and working towards ‘common goals’, but in reality each body operates as an island in a sea of political confusion. Cooperation is an elusive commodity in international wildlife politics.
Perhaps that can be excused where the subject is as ambiguous as ‘defining when a representative sample of temperate ecosystem fungi is adequately protected’. It should be simple when the subject is an easily visible animal, with quite clear threats impacting it’s future. It should be even more straightforward when only two conventions really need to pay attention – CITES and CMS.
So much is shared between CMS and CITES. Each convention focuses on protecting wild animals and each has clear and complementary objectives– CITES on reducing the threat of trade to specific species and CMS on reducing other threats and protecting habitats – simple. Each has their headquarters in Europe making regular communication a simple matter. There are 109 Governments who are Parties to both conventions, which is 92 percent of CMS’s total Parties and 62 percent of CITES’s total Parties. Yet a ‘disconnect’ exists between the two.
First it must be said that Governments are inconsistent in the way they approach CMS and CITES. Their decisions often contradict or undermine what they have set out to achieve in one or the other, such as over elephants in Africa. When Governments are operating through CMS they consider elephants as regional populations (even species) and take steps to progress regionally specific measures to reduce threats and protect elephant habitat, recognizing that in some parts of Africa these habitats have shrunk to such a extent that many elephant populations are facing extinction. When the same Governments approach CITES they take the position that elephants across Africa are one species and that the only threat they face is illegal trade in ivory. Moreover they force international decision making over elephants to be focused through CITES, so that habitat loss becomes a second tier issue. It is a frustrating conundrum that from the outside seems so obvious – why not require that each body works together on the ‘two halves of the whole’?
But the disconnect stems from within as well. In 2008 West African manatees were determined by CMS’s Parties to be endangered (CMS Appendix I) by unanimous consent. The acknowledged manatee experts- the IUCN Sirenian Specialist Group – had made the case that habitat loss, destructive fishing techniques, local hunting and illegal sub-regional trade of manatee as bushmeat are imperiling the future of this gentle species. Manatees are a tropical species that live in and around mangroves and estuaries in a heavily populated sub-region of Africa that struggling under some of the most difficult political and economic conditions anywhere in the world. Most of the Governments in the manatee’s region have done their level best to change their national law to match what they agreed to do through CMS. They even created a specific regional agreement and action plan for manatees, and through this determined they wanted CITES to also ban international trade of the animals to help them strengthen their national laws. It seems so obvious that the world community should support such a request. However, as we approach the CITES meeting, the CITES Secretariat itself has argued against the proposal on the grounds that the science isn’t solid enough and the trade not “international” enough. The Secretariat has recommended that the proposal be rejected.
The problem extends to CITES assessments of species in the polar north as well. For the past decade the acknowledged scientific experts on polar bear – the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group – have been blowing a warning siren that many polar bear populations face extinction, as major parts of the Arctic ecosystem succumb to the impact of global warming. Indeed, polar bears have become the symbol of climate change, but the pressure on the species is made worse because some populations are still hunted for commercial trade. In 2011 the CMS Scientific Council advised that there was a strong case for CMS to determine polar bears as endangered, and during the subsequent political meeting, which echoed with scientific alarm about the extent that climate change is already impacting many migratory species around the world, CMS Parties agreed to consider polar bear for listing as endangered by CMS at its next meeting in 2014. Yet the CITES Secretariat’s advice about the same tenor of proposal put, by the Unites States of America, to CITES is that such a measure would be ‘disproportionate to the anticipated risk to the species at this time’. Again, the CITES Secretariat has recommended that the proposal be rejected.
In both cases the CITES Secretariat will defend is position by looking to the fine detail and definitions of the convention, but as they do so they are missing the bigger picture. Governments have been agitating for years that the international environmental governance system has become too complex, that there is too much duplication in some areas with too much disconnect in others. Without doubt, this is their own responsibility as the architects and decision makers for every international legal process that exists today. However, there is also a case to be made that as ever more complex science and management discussions have developed in the past 30 years, Governments now need some simple cooperative solutions to be brought forward by the professional bodies that service the five biodiversity conventions. Obvious and seemingly deliberate disconnects between the biodiversity conventions do nothing to benefit our collective imperative to protect the fractions of the planet’s ecosystems and wildlife that we have left. Let us hope that sense prevails and by the time we are casting our eyes in CMS’s direction in late 2014 that we won’t have a similarly bleak analysis to report. For now, cooperation still seems an elusive commodity in international wildlife politics.
This opinion is also published on www.wildmigration.org
Margi Prideaux, is the Policy and Negotiations Director for Wild Migration.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twt @WildPoliticsProtecting elephants, manatees and polar bears: the elusive commodity of international... more
Tea Party Hates Manatees, Says Protecting Them Is “Against the Bible”
Jesus apparently hated manatees, according to a new Tea Party platform circulating around Florida.Tea Party Hates Manatees, Says Protecting Them Is “Against the Bible”... more
Dead Birds Fall in Italy, Sweden, U.S. (AR, LA, KY) | Millions of Dead Fish Found in Brazil, New Zealand, U.S. (MD, SC) | Constant Updates | Photos | Videos------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Dead Birds Fall From Sky In Sweden, Millions Of Dead Fish Found In Maryland, Brazil, New Zealand
The Huffington Post | Travis Walter Donovan First Posted: 01- 5-11 09:11 AM | Updated: 01- 5-11 06:16 PM
UPDATE: Wildlife officials say that even more previously unreported dead birds were found in Kentucky last week.
Millions of dead fish surfaced in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay in the U.S., Tuesday, while similar unexplained mass fish deaths occurred across the world in Brazil and New Zealand. On Wednesday, 50 birds were found dead on a street in Sweden. The news come after recents reports of mysterious massive bird and fish deaths days prior in Arkansas and Louisiana.
The Baltimore Sun reports that an estimated 2 million fish were found dead in the Chesapeake Bay, mostly adult spot with some juvenile croakers in the mix, as well. Maryland Department of the Environment spokesperson Dawn Stoltzfus says "cold-water stress" is believed to be the culprit. She told The Sun that similar large winter fish deaths were documented in 1976 and 1980.
ParanaOnline reports that 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish have washed up in Brazilian fishing towns since last Thursday. The cause of the deaths is unknown, with an imbalance in the environment, chemical pollution, or accidental release from a fishing boat all suggested by local officials.
In New Zealand, hundreds of dead snapper fish washed up on Coromandel Peninsula beaches, many found with their eyes missing, The New Zealand Herald reports. A Department of Conservation official allegedly claims the fish were starving due to weather conditions.
While all three events are likely unrelated, they come after recent reports of mysterious dead birds falling from the sky in both Arkansas and Louisiana. Thousands of dead birds were found in Beebe, Arkansas on New Year's Eve, and a few days later, around 500 of the same species were found 300 miles south in Louisiana. A Kentucky woman also reported finding dozens of dead birds scattered around her home. In the days prior to New Year's, nearly 100,000 fish surfaced in an Arkansas river 100 miles west of Beebe. Officials are now saying that fireworks likely caused the Arkansas bird deaths, and power lines may be to blame for the death of the birds in Louisiana.
Some remain skeptical of the explanations. Dan Cristol, a biology professor and co-founder of the Institute for Integrative Bird Behavior Studies at the College of William & Mary, told the AP that he was hesitant to believe fireworks were to blame unless "somebody blew something into the roost, literally blowing the birds into the sky."
Wednesday, officials in Sweden reported the finding of 50 dead birds on a street, suggesting that cold weather or fireworks were the likely culprit.
Bird deaths and fish kills at smaller numbers aren't all that uncommon, though the size and proximity of some of the recent events have led people to allege their relation, though officials deny the frequency of these wildlife deaths as being anything other than coincidence.
In August of 2010, tens of thousands of dead fish were reported washing ashore in two separate occasions, 200 miles apart on the East Coast.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------... more
People arent the only ones in Florida who dont like cold weather. Manatees - those giant aquatic mammals with the flat, paddle-shaped tails - are swimming out of the chilly Gulf of Mexico waters and into warmer springs and power plant discharge canals. On Tuesday, more than 300 manatees floated in the outflow of Tampa Electrics Big Bend Power Station...
http://www.indiareport.com/India-usa-uk-news/ap/National/71853People arent the only ones in Florida who dont like cold weather. Manatees - those... more
The last of the big summer holidays is almost here. An upswing in boating traffic is expected throughout the long Labor Day weekend, and Save the Manatee Club is urging the boating community to be extra vigilant, especially in light of the crises manatees have already had to deal with this year.
“The events of 2010 have been tragic for the entire manatee population, which has been dealt one terrible blow after another,” said Patrick Rose, Save the Manatee Club’s Executive Director.
“Last year’s all-time record for total mortality has already been shattered this year. Since January 1st, over 600 manatees have died. That’s more than 10% of the entire known population! Nearly half died as a result of Florida’s unprecedented cold winter.
Although the Deepwater Horizon Well is sealed, the unprecedented oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico remains a major threat to manatees, and the large variety of marine and freshwater vegetation upon which they depend. Oil can directly pollute the seagrasses and other vegetation that manatees and other wildlife depend on for their very survival and can also block sunlight required for vegetation to grow. We also have substantial concerns regarding massive amounts of chemical dispersants that have been pumped and sprayed to break up the oil and need to watch for ill effects on endangered manatees and other wildlife.
A recent report by Georgia Sea Grant indicates that as much as 79% of the oil that was spilled remains in the Gulf, and we are still just one storm away from even more serious consequences.”
Further, last year a record number of manatees were killed by boat strikes. Recent manatee mortality statistics from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission reveal that deaths from boat strikes in 2010 are keeping pace with prior years.
“We feel it’s vital to work with the boating community to help minimize watercraft-related manatee injuries and deaths,” said Dr. Katie Tripp, Director of Science and Conservation for Save the Manatee Club.
“We believe in empowering the boating community so that each boater is aware of his or her ability to protect manatees by always looking out for them while safely enjoying Florida’s beautiful waterways.”
The Club produces and distributes a variety of free public awareness materials designed to keep the waterways safer for Florida’s endangered manatees. Florida boaters can request bright yellow waterproof boating banners to alert other boaters when manatees are in the area.
There are also newly designed shoreline property signs which encourage boaters to keep it slow, and it also features the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) hotline number (1-888-404-3922) for reporting injured manatees. Plus, the new matching boating decal can be placed on all Florida watercraft, from kayaks to jet skis.
Requests for the banners, signs, and decals can be sent via e-mail to email@example.com, by calling toll free at 1-800-432-JOIN (5646), or by contacting:
Save the Manatee Club
500 N. Maitland Ave.,
Maitland, FL, 32751.
Dr. Tripp asks Florida boaters to help with manatee protection this Labor Day weekend by watching out for the meandering marine mammals on their travels. “Slow down if manatees are sighted, follow posted boat speed regulations at all times, and stay in deep water channels whenever possible.”
Those who see an injured, dead, tagged or orphaned manatee, or a manatee who is being harassed, are asked to call the FWC hotline number at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on cellular phones, or use VHF Channel 16 on marine radios. She is also recommending that recreational boaters carry up-to-date navigation charts aboard their vessels to avoid shallow areas where manatees feed and rest.
For further information or to arrange an interview with one of the Club’s biologists, contact:
Director of Public Relations
Phone: (407) 539-0990
Note: The Club's yellow boating banner is free to boaters & available upon request.
"PLEASE SLOW - MANATEES BELOW" (banner)The last of the big summer holidays is almost here. An upswing in boating traffic is... more
A worker uses a shovel to remove an oil glob from the beach Thursday, July 1, in Biloxi, Mississippi.GETTY IMAGES A worker uses a shovel to remove an oil glob from the beach Thursday,... more
US Fish and Wildlife Service hopes to save Florida manatees from BP oil spill catastrophe
The worst enemy of the Florida manatee used to be boating accidents, now it’s the BP oil spill.
US Fish and Wildlife services workers in Crystal River, Florida have developed a plan to try to save Florida manatees from the encroaching BP oil spill. The gentle sea cows nest in the quiet rivers, just 50 miles north of Tampa Bay.
http://www.examiner.com/x-44251-Tampa-Animal-Welfare-Examiner~y2010m6d19-US-Fish-and-Wildlife-Service-hopes-to-save-Florida-manatees-from-BP-oil-spill-catastrophe#US Fish and Wildlife Service hopes to save Florida manatees from BP oil spill... more
Crystal River, Florida (CNN) -- With the utmost care and a healthy dose of respect, Monica Ross brought the pontoon boat to a crawl, shut its engine down, and asked for quiet. She was careful not to disturb the small antenna, which floated on the surface of the Crystal River marking the location of Coral, an 800 pound manatee.
She is in a nice, quiet cove. Perfect spot to be resting," said Ross, a marine biologist with Sea to Shore Alliance.
"Nice and protected ... for now," she said.
For now. These are uncertain days on the Crystal River, where boat tours take folks out to see the sea creatures, and where people can swim with them. Knowing where these endangered manatees are will help marine biologists, if Deepwater Horizon oil makes its way into these waters where about 1,000 manatees reside.
"We do know that the oil is toxic and depending on how weathered it is, it can have a lot of harmful effects if manatees come in contact with it," said Patrick Rose, executive director of Save the Manatee Club.
"Everything from coating their skin to getting in their eyes, to being ingested ... We don't know specifically because it's not been documented ... never happened as far as I know," he said.
In winter, the gentle creatures -- sometimes called "sea cows" because of their underwater bucolic nature but actually more closely related to elephants -- congregate in the warm waters of the rivers, estuaries and springs along the Florida Gulf Coast. But in summer, manatees frequently leave the close confines of their winter spas and spread out along the Gulf Coast to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and around the Florida Keys up the Atlantic coast.
With the population more widespread, would-be rescuers face a difficult task.
Long the victims of accidental boat strikes and careless boaters, the West Indian manatee population in the Gulf of Mexico stands at about 5,000, experts believe. This past winter's extended cold wiped out almost 10 percent of their number. And while everyone is hoping for the best, federal and state officials as well as environmental groups are planning for the worst. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead agency protecting manatees and other wildlife from the oil.
"We don't know how detrimental it will be if they inhale it, if they ingest it, if they're foraging in areas where sea grass has been oiled," said Nicole Adimey, the manatee oil spill response coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"We have no idea how that's going to impact them," she said.
The Fish and Wildlife Service says that as its staff monitors the flow of the black crude across the Gulf, they will use aerial flights to monitor manatees and other wildlife. They hope to have about 72 hours to respond to save manatees unknowingly swimming in the path of the oil -- including physically moving these mammals, which can reach 10 feet long and weigh 1,200 pounds. Rescue teams are staging gear and will be ready to move in if necessary to try and capture manatees in distress.
But rescuing large numbers of manatees has never been done before. Is it realistic to capture large numbers of the sometimes uncooperative mammal?
"I don't know the answer to that question but we're going to move as many as we possibly can," said Adimeyr.
"If we had to move dozens, and it was a situation where we needed to move dozens, then I think we've been assured that we can get the resources, the extra hands that we need to do that," she said
Adimey said that if manatees come into contact with oil, they will be cleaned with dish soap to break it up and to clean the surface of their bodies.
They will be transported to one of two de-oiling stations -- the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Institute for Marine Mammals Studies, in Gulfport, Mississippi. Additional facilities in Florida include the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa and the Miami Seaquarium.
Once medically cleared, the animal will be transported to a long-term holding facility at Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park just south of the Crystal River Preserve, where many manatees have found a haven.
According to the federal plan, no manatees will be released back into the wild until the threat of oil contamination is over. And even then, experts hope the seagrass beds and vegetation that manatees eat aren't destroyed by the oil.
Experts say they have a large network of people working together in partnerships, but accounting for every situation, and every scenario is doubtful.
"Capturing, rescuing hundreds of manatees, it's never been done," said Patrick Rose of Save the Manatee.
"We would lose manatees, I believe, if those kinds of numbers of manatees are involved."
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/06/17/florida.manatees.oil/?hpt=T2Crystal River, Florida (CNN) -- With the utmost care and a healthy dose of respect,... more
By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
June 10, 2010 6:18 p.m. EDT
A brown pelican coated in heavy oil tries to take flight on East Grand Terre Island, Louisiana.
Some experts see it as a well-meaning flight of fancy. To others, cleaning a bird soaked with oil from the Gulf of Mexico is the only chance it has for survival.
In the case of the brown pelican, removed last year from the endangered species list, it may be the only way to save the entire lot.
"It's like triage on a battlefield. You have to weigh where you can have your best success," said Ginette Hemley, the World Wildlife Fund's senior vice president for conservation strategies and science.
Earlier this week, a German biologist painted a less rosy picture in an interview with the magazine Der Spiegel. Silvia Gaus of the Wattenmeer National Park said it was more humane to euthanize the birds because they will suffer a painful death regardless of whether the oil is scrubbed from their feathers.
"According to serious studies, the middle-term survival rate of oil-soaked birds is under 1 percent," Gaus told the magazine. "We, therefore, oppose cleaning birds."
The statement spotlighted a similar statement in 2002 from the World Wildlife Fund, which said it was reluctant to advise cleaning birds after the Prestige spill off the coast of Spain. In that incident, a sunken tanker dumped about 20 million gallons of oil off the Galician coast.
The fund issued a statement earlier this week saying its 2002 remarks could not fairly be applied to the situation in the Gulf of Mexico. Thursday marked Day 52 of the gusher.
"In many cases, WWF believes there is value in trying to clean and rehabilitate wildlife, especially if productive, viable adult animals can recover from exposure to oil," the release said. "But every situation is different, and it is too soon to fully calculate the impact the Gulf spill will have on the long-term viability of populations of many species in the region."
Hemley said it could take up to three years to determine the spill's total impact on wildlife.
According to Wednesday's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service numbers, rescue officials have collected 1,075 birds. Of those, 442 were alive and "visibly oiled." Another 633 were found dead, and 109 of those were visibly oiled.
The report states BP's Deepwater Horizon spill is not responsible for all dead birds.
"How long will the birds survive that have been cleaned and released? We don't know yet," Hemley said, explaining it depends on a variety of factors.
Included are how quickly the bird was saved, the bird's age and size and the length of exposure to the oil, she said.
Lee Hollingsworth, a wildlife adviser with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Wales, said other concerns are the level of saturation and how much oil a bird has ingested.
Seabirds' feathers are weatherproofed by natural oils, stimulated by a gland in their lower back. This is why birds nuzzle their tail feathers when they're preening, Hollingsworth said.
"If that gland is damaged," he said, "then that no longer secretes oil."
Other rescue methods, such as holding the birds in captivity to protect them or moving them to a new habitat, can be dangerous as well, he said. Captivity is stressful, and changing a bird's environment introduces it to new prey and predators, whereas it was accustomed to its food and enemies in its natural habitat.
Many birds are quite specialized, he said, and don't do well in artificial, foreign or zoo-like environs.
The Welsh society joined the World Wildlife Fund in 2002, saying that heavily oiled birds could not be helped.
But on Thursday, Hollingsworth said the 8-year-old statement was specific to the situation in Spain, which happened in chilly November. The Gulf is warm, which could bode well for the birds, he said.
"The majority of [birds affected by the Prestige incident] didn't survive anyway. That, again, is due to the ingestion of oil and weatherproofing," he said.
Hollingsworth said many people cleaning birds are working for charities that don't receive much government funding, and it's important for such groups to prioritize their efforts and target areas where they'll do the most good.
In the Gulf of Mexico, that may mean focusing on brown pelicans. The birds, which are native to the Atlantic Coast and eastern Gulf, spent almost 40 years on the endangered species list until last year
"The chances of success increase every time we deal with one of these unfortunate situations. ... Hopefully we're getting better at this.
--Ginette Hemley, World Wildlife Fund
When salvaging just a few birds is so vital to the survival of a species, Hollingsworth said, "something has got to be done, and of course it's worth saving the bird."
Despite conflicting studies on the viability of washing birds, there are plenty of success stories. The International Bird Rescue and Research Center, which is working in the Gulf, cites several examples on its website.
After the 2000 Treasure spill off the coast of South Africa, rescuers saved 21,000 African penguins and released about 19,500 birds back into their colonies, according to the center.
The website notes rescuers also saved 32 snowy plovers after the 1999 New Carissa spill off the Oregon coast, 180 king eiders after a 1996 spill near Alaska's Pribilof Islands and 175 waterfowl after California's Santa Clara River spill of 1991.
"It may seem like a small number but it was significant to us, as we knew what those animals endured being covered in very heavy and thick oil," wrote Jay Holcomb, the center's executive director.
Hemley said the wildlife fund would generally "err on the side of recovering birds." After all, she said, it's not costly to rinse the birds and let them rest before scrubbing them with Dawn, the dishwashing liquid whose motto once was, "Takes grease out of your way."
Rescuers are always looking to improve on their methods for saving animals, and they've learned a lot since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill off the coast of Southern California, she said.
"The chances of success increase every time we deal with one of these unfortunate situations," Hemley said. "Hopefully we're getting better at this."By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN June 10, 2010 6:18 p.m. EDT A brown pelican coated in... more
In less than a week, the rescue center at Fort Jackson has received more than five times as many oiled birds as it received in the previous six weeks since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill began.
A report Wednesday from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows that the Louisiana center has reported 415 birds since the BP PLC well blew wild in April. Sixty-six of those had been reported by last Thursday. The number since then is 349, with 61 of them added since Tuesday.
In addition, 14 birds have been brought to the Alabama center, 12 in Florida and one in Mississippi.
Since the start of the spill, bird rescue crews have found 633 dead birds -- about one in six VISIBLY oiled.
A total of 32 sea turtles have been rescued, 28 of them in the Gulf of Mexico. http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/06/oiled_birds_arriving_at_rescue.html
NOTE: Thses numbers do not include the number of sea turtles (dolphins, seahorses or other wildlife) found dead due to the oil spill or toxic dispersant.In less than a week, the rescue center at Fort Jackson has received more than five... more
As the first holiday weekend of the summer season approaches, we have this boating safety reminder from Save the Manatee Club:
Memorial Day traditionally signals the start of the summer boating season. Recreational boaters during the holiday weekend are reminded to watch out for manatees traveling, resting, feeding and playing in waterways.
Last year, a record-setting 97 manatees were killed by boat strikes in Florida waters. Save the Manatee Club has issued a new boating decal and a redesigned shoreline property sign that says “Slow Please.”
“We wanted to create something that would serve as a constant reminder for boaters to be on the lookout for manatees and also provide the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s hotline number (1-888-404-3922) for reporting manatees in distress,” said Katie Tripp, the club’s director of science and conservation.
Save the Manatee Club is distributing the signs to Florida shoreline property owners and decals to boaters. Florida boaters can also request a free “Please Slow: Manatees Below” waterproof, bright yellow banner to alert other boaters when manatees are present in the area.
To obtain the free decals, signs and banners, contact Save the Manatee Club at firstname.lastname@example.org, at 500 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751, or 1-800-432-5646.
To further safeguard manatees, the club says boaters should follow all posted boat speed regulations, slow down if manatees are in the vicinity, and stay in deep water channels when possible. If you see an injured, dead, tagged or orphaned manatee, or a manatee that is being harassed, call the wildlife commission 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on your cellular phone, or use VHF Channel 16 on your marine radio.
http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/features_lifestyle_animal/2010/05/memorial-day-remember-the-manatees.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AnimalCrazy+%28Animal+Crazy%29As the first holiday weekend of the summer season approaches, we have this boating... more
By Nikolas Kozloff:
To the degree that Americans are paying attention to the environmental plight of marine wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, they may focus most upon dolphins and whales.
However, the U.S. public is much less familiar with another marine mammal, the manatee, which could also be placed in jeopardy as a result of the BP oil spill. One of the most outlandish creatures on the planet, the shy and retiring manatee, which gets its name from an American Indian word meaning "Lady of the Water," is one of my favorite animals.
First described as a cross between a seal and hippo, the manatee has a wonderfully round body, mostly black skin the texture of vinyl, a bright pink belly, a diamond-shaped tail and a cleft lip. Manatees belong to the biological order Sirenia which includes dugongs and Steller's Sea Cow, the latter hunted to extinction in the Bering Sea during the 1700s.
"Sluggish, squinty-eyed and bewhiskered," notes the New York Times, the manatee "is more likely to have its rotund bulk compared to a sweet potato." Living life in the slow lane, manatees are fond of doing nothing much at all. When they're not eating, they take frequent naps. An exclusive vegetarian that feeds on water lettuce and hyacinth, the animal eats 10 percent of its body weight in a single day. Not surprisingly manatees are robust -- they can grow up to ten feet long and weigh nearly a ton.
In the wake of BP's disaster, the manatee could be in for a rough patch. Indeed, oil could ultimately result in death or significant injury in the event that manatees are exposed to petroleum.
The docile sea creature, which can be found along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, could ingest oil-damaged sea grass beds and other vegetation. If the marine mammals come into contact with surface oil, this could irritate their eyes and mucous membranes while clogging the animals' nostrils.
The manatee is already endangered and the BP spill poses yet a further problem for the animal. Because manatees need to surface to breathe air, they could become exposed to oil on the water. If they ingest oil, manatees could develop lesions and erosions of the esophagus, liver toxicity and kidney problems. Ingestion could kill the organisms in manatees' stomachs which aid in the digestion of sea grasses consumed by the animals.
Of particular concern is the plight of Bama, the first Alabama manatee to be tagged by scientists. From mid-May to mid-November, Bama and at least a dozen other manatees call Alabama home. Currently, Bama is migrating back home to Alabama from Florida. Though manatees don't tend to travel in pods or herds, it's likely that Bama represents the advance guard of manatees making their way back towards the northern Gulf.
In murky waters, the manatees' acute sense of touch and vibrissae, located on the face but also all over the body, come in handy. These bristly vibrissae serve to transmit information to the brain via nerve fibers. Though other animals such as dogs have vibrissae, they don't have them in such large numbers and typically only on the face.
"For now," notes the Times, "the question of how intertwined the sensory abilities of manatees might be remains unanswered. Yet even what is known reveals a degree of complexity that argues against labeling them as sweet but dumb -- peaceable simpletons."
Long derided as stupid by humans, the manatee will now have to steer clear of man's environmental folly in the Gulf. Though Bama and other manatees have poor vision, perhaps their other extra sensory abilities will alert them to danger. It may be the only tool they have at their disposal as the animals seek to survive the despoliation of their habitat.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nikolas-kozloff/bp-and-the-perilous-voyag_b_584267.htmlBy Nikolas Kozloff: To the degree that Americans are paying attention to the... more
Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Allen warned that the leaking oil from a rig explosion could continue for weeks with dire consequences.
"It potentially is catastrophic," Salazar said. "I think we have to prepare for the worst."
That would mean oil damaging sensitive coastal wetlands and industries, including a vital fishing sector that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Obama initially planned to fly over the affected area by helicopter, but weather conditions prevented the flight. Before his trip, Cabinet officials warned he would find a dire situation.
Officials warn of possible catastrophe
Salazar blamed the explosion that caused the spill on a failure in rig technology intended to prevent so-called blowouts.
"There is no doubt at all here that what has happened is the blowout prevention mechanism at the bottom of the well ... is defective," Salazar said. "While there have been blowouts in the past, we have never seen anything that has been quite of this magnitude."
The well is owned by oil company BP. Lamar McKay, president of BP America, told ABC's "This Week" that the company doesn't know why the blowout preventer failed.
All three officials interviewed by CNN repeatedly emphasized that BP is legally responsible for spill and clean-up efforts. they avoided direct criticism of the company, but said BP must do more to try to cap the gushing well.
Allen called the spill "one of the most complex things we've ever dealt with," and said it was impossible so far to predict how much oil will eventually leak.
"If we lost a total well head, it could be 100,000 barrels or more a day," he said.
BP said two Louisiana communities, Venice and Port Fourchon, will likely be the first places hit by the oil slick. Nearly 1 million feet of booms have been deployed in an effort to protect precious estuaries and wildlife, even as thousands of barrels of crude oil continued gushing into the water. Drilling new wells to stop the flow would take a month or two, and it was unclear if the leak could be contained or slowed before then.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/02/louisiana.oil.spill/index.htmlAppearing on CNN's "State of the Union," Homeland Security Secretary... more
PHOTO: Forecast location of the spill at 1800 CDT on Saturday 5/1/2010. The red color shows where oil will reach the shore. The Chandeleur Islands and Louisiana marshes will be affected.
This web site provides a place for people to volunteer to assist in cleanup operations related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Organizations working on the cleanup may register here to be connected with volunteers. OilSpillVolunteers.com will link volunteers with cleanup organizations; we will not be directing volunteer activities.
BP, Transocean, Homeland Security, USCG, NOAA, EPA, Department of the Interior - We need to hear from you. We have 2000 people eager to be trained and eager to jump into action when the oil comes ashore. How do they get training? What can they do to help with the cleanup? Help us.
Volunteers - Please register using this form http://www.oilspillvolunteers.com/register.php . Provide complete as much of the form as possible and indicate whether your contact information can be shared directly with cleanup organizations. Please do not use email to provide your volunteer information.
Caution: Do not attempt oil cleanup work without training and the required safety equipment. The oil waste is a toxic material and can pose a threat. This OSHA http://www.oilspillvolunteers.com/docs/OSHA_HAZWOPER_Oil.pdf handbook for oil spill cleanup will explain.
Cleanup Organizations Needing Volunteers - Please send email to don@OilSpillVolunteers.com describing your needs and activities.
***Please route all individual volunteer offers to the registration form here on the web.
We are receiving a large number of emails and calls and it's much simpler and more reliable to keep track of volunteers in the database linked to the form. We'd hate to misplace an email and lose contact with you.
If you've signed up and had a question - Please be patient, we'll be in touch as soon as possible.
For media information, please contact Melanie Allen - mailto:email@example.com
Please pardon the rough format of this site; there's too much to do to worry about making it pretty. We'll soon be adding:
Mailing list information
List of cleanup organizations
Phone numbers to report oiled wildlife
Spill location and movement forecast
* Suggestions and assistance are welcomed.PHOTO: Forecast location of the spill at 1800 CDT on Saturday 5/1/2010. The red color... more
Rescue crews are cleaning the first bird found coated with oil that's been spewing from a sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
The rescue center says the bird was found offshore, not on the shoreline.
The bird is normally white with a yellow head and long, pointed beak but was covered in thick, black oil. The rescuers are cleaning the bird at Fort Jackson, a historic landmark about 70 miles southeast of New Orleans.
It was the only animal being cleaned late Friday morning, but rescuers expected many more to come in throughout the day.
"Wildlife protection officials are trying the strategy of 'hazing,' or using loud propane-fired cannons, to chase birds from the water's edge," National Geographic reported.
Meanwhile, a marine wildlife rehabilitation center in Mississippi is gearing up to take in possibly hundreds of oily sea mammals from Texas to Florida.
The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport has surgery, necropsy and exam rooms, walk-in freezers full of frozen fish for food, X-ray and ultrasound machines and plenty of medicine. The nonprofit facility also has eight large pools, which have been cleaned and prepared to handle sea turtles, manatees and dolphins.
Center director Dr. Moby Solangi said Friday the site will be "ground zero" for injured marine mammals.
Solangi said there are roughly up to 5,000 dolphins in the Gulf area between the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts and the oil rig, many giving birth right now.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/30/birds-oil-coated-gulf-spill_n_558665.htmlRescue crews are cleaning the first bird found coated with oil that's been... more
The OceanTaskForce and SharkTaskForce take you face to face with manatees for a one of a kind adventure. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants people to watch out for manatees as temperatures begin to warm. It was a very tough year on the creature because of cold temperatures. 400 deaths were documented.The OceanTaskForce and SharkTaskForce take you face to face with manatees for a one of... more