NWF’s David Mizejewski: Why We Must Try To Save Oiled Birds

Brown Pelicans on Louisiana coast

Even if oiled birds like the brown pelican are cleaned, significant numbers won’t survive their return to the wild. Should we try to rehabilitate them anyway? It’s one of the most controversial questions surrounding the response to the BP oil disaster.

David Mizejewski, National Wildlife Federation naturalist, tackles the question at CNN.com:

Some have argued that we shouldn’t bother to try to save any oiled birds, that given the long odds many face, we should simply euthanize all of them. That line of thinking overlooks recent advances in wildlife rehabilitation. It also lumps the sickest birds together with ones that may only be mildly ill.

More broadly, it misses the point that this isn’t just about playing the percentages. Humanity is an important factor in the decision to rehabilitate oiled animals. People caused this problem, and many feel it is our ethical duty to try to help the wildlife suffering as a result, even if the task is difficult and the outcome uncertain.

David is heading to Louisiana next week to view the impacts of the BP oil disaster firsthand. Keep checking back here at WildlifePromise.org for updates from the Gulf Coast.

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For all the latest news on how the oil spill is impacting the Gulf Coast’s wildlife & to learn how you can help, visit NWF.org/OilSpill.