danger to land: Aerial views shown below on Monday of oil spilling into the Gulf of Paria, following a series of oil spills from Petrotrin’s storage facilities in Pointe-a-Pierre which resulted in the entire south coast of the country being polluted. Deep-sea biologist Dr Diva Amon told the Express the spill being seen here could cause yet more devastation on land in the coming days, much of which has so far been seen in La Brea. —Photos courtesy Dr Diva Amon

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‘Oily’ the seagull gets cleaned up

...but concerns for wildlife

By Carolyn Kissoon and Kim Boodram

A seagull rescued on Sunday after being drenched in crude oil from a spill in the Gulf of Paria has been brought back almost fully to good health by the Wildlife Orphanage and Rehabilitation Centre (WORC).

The bird is recovering after being found by an employee of Petrotrin in La Brea on Sunday, the area on the southern pe­nin­sula worst hit by a spill, the source of which was be­ing investigated up to yesterday.

A photograph of the oil-covered gull was used on the front page of Monday’s publication of the Express.

The bird was taken on the long journey from La Brea to Petit Valley by Pa­pa Bois Conservation (PBC) where it was turned over to the care of animal rehabilitation specialist Detta Buch.

Buch reported yesterday that the bird, now named “Oily”, appears to be on its way to making a full recovery.

Upon receiving the bird, a call went out from WORC, which relies hea­vily on sponsorship, for cleaning-aid materials— Dawn dishwashing liquid, baby oil and paper towels.

In an expression of thanks on the centre’s Facebook page yesterday, centre member Lisa Tho­mas said the response was overwhelming and the donated items went a long way to cleaning up “Oily”.

WORC stated the bad­ly oiled bird was rehydra­ted and washed multiple times. The centre estima­ted the bird was slicked for at least two days and had become thin and weak.

“Timing is of the utmost essence with cleaning and treatment of them (birds). We may or may not get in more, but we do have what we need should or if any are brought in to us,” the centre stated.

Energy minister Kev­in Ramnarine stated yesterday the bird’s health and wellness was being overseen by Petrotrin. He said reports indicated the bird’s con­dition was improving.

Papa Bois Conservation stated following a visit to Cedros on Monday that at least one more oiled gull was spotted at Bonasse Beach, though it was still able to fly.

Also on Bonasse were a number of large, dead catfish, which one resident said is “unusual” and “must be related to the spill”, which had crept up in smaller amounts as far as Fullerton. 

“Clean-up personnel told us about at least two slicked caiman at a mangrove by Granville Beach,” PBC stated.

“The sad thing is there was no organised response to the wildlife loss due to the oil spill. Nobody seems to be keeping count. I hope the powers that be learn from this experience.”

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