Shampooing to Stop Oil Spill Bird Deaths

Every year at least half a million water birds die from encounters with spilt oil, according to Jay Holcomb, executive director of the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield, Calfornia. But on occasion rescue teams arrive on scene in time to scrub the birds’ feathers clean and prevent calamity.

Take, for example, the response when approximately 1,300 tons of oil spilled from the bulk ore carrier Treasure. The ship sank in the Atlantic Ocean in June 2000 about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Cape Town, South Africa.