Concerns about Rehabilitation of Oiled Wildlife *

Concerns about Rehabilitation of Oiled Wildlife * The Exxon Valdez oil spill was a precedent‐setting event because of the seemingly limitless resources invested in environmental cleanup, rehabilitation of oiled wildlife, and a host of related post‐spill activities. Sea otters were the centerpiece of rehabilitation efforts, in large part because of their vulnerability, local abundance, and public appeal. In an earlier commentary I questioned whether this effort was in the best interest of conservation ( Estes 1991 ). Eight years have passed since the Exxon Valdez spill, during which time concern over marine oil spills has grown to the point of creating its own culture. Our society’s need for cheap energy has made spill prevention an elusive goal, thereby elevating rehabilitation to a position of considerable importance in spill response programs. But just what are the benefits of rehabilitation and what are its likely costs? The developing polarity of views on wildlife rehabilitation makes this a timely issue. There are several reasons to question the wisdom of rehabilitating oiled wildlife. The majority of marine birds and mammals that came in contact with oil following the Exxon Valdez spill went untreated, not so much because facilities were unavailable but because these animals could not be captured or http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Conservation Biology Wiley

Concerns about Rehabilitation of Oiled Wildlife *

Conservation Biology, Volume 12 (5) – Oct 5, 1998

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Society for Conservation Biology
ISSN
0888-8892
eISSN
1523-1739
D.O.I.
10.1046/j.1523-1739.1998.97507.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was a precedent‐setting event because of the seemingly limitless resources invested in environmental cleanup, rehabilitation of oiled wildlife, and a host of related post‐spill activities. Sea otters were the centerpiece of rehabilitation efforts, in large part because of their vulnerability, local abundance, and public appeal. In an earlier commentary I questioned whether this effort was in the best interest of conservation ( Estes 1991 ). Eight years have passed since the Exxon Valdez spill, during which time concern over marine oil spills has grown to the point of creating its own culture. Our society’s need for cheap energy has made spill prevention an elusive goal, thereby elevating rehabilitation to a position of considerable importance in spill response programs. But just what are the benefits of rehabilitation and what are its likely costs? The developing polarity of views on wildlife rehabilitation makes this a timely issue. There are several reasons to question the wisdom of rehabilitating oiled wildlife. The majority of marine birds and mammals that came in contact with oil following the Exxon Valdez spill went untreated, not so much because facilities were unavailable but because these animals could not be captured or

Journal

Conservation BiologyWiley

Published: Oct 5, 1998

References

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