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"Kill, don't clean," recommends Silvia Gaus, a biologist at NationalPark Wattenmeer (Wadden Sea National Park) in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Unfortunately, despite some short-term success in cleaning birds and releasing them into the wild, few, if any, have a chance of surviving even for a few months, reports Ms Gaus, who has worked as a biologist for 20 years.

"According to serious studies, the middle-term survival rate of oil-soaked birds is under 1 percent," Ms Gaus explained. "We, therefore, oppose cleaning birds."...

"Birds, those that have been covered in oil and can still be caught, can no longer be helped," stated a WWF spokesman during the 2002 Prestige clean-up effort. "Therefore, the World Wildlife Fund is very reluctant to recommend cleaning."

The Prestige spill killed 250,000 birds off the western coasts of France, Spain and Portugal. Of the thousands of birds that were cleaned, most died within a few days, and only 600 were released into the wild. According to an oft-quoted (but unnamed, unreferenced and mysteriously unfindable) British study of the tragically mishandled Prestige spill, the median lifespan of those 600 released birds was only seven days.
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Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:53:27 PM EST

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