Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Antarctic oil spill threatens birds

Will birders rethink their desire to visit Antarctica because of the chance of endangering Adelie and Papua Penguins?

A passenger ship, The Explorer, struck ice on Nov. 23 and began sinking. The 154 passengers and crew had to evacuate onto lifeboats in the middle of the night before being picked up by a Norwegian cruise ship.

When the Explorer began sinking, it held about 50,000 gallons of diesel, 6,300 gallons of lubricant and 260 gallons of gasoline. The diesel fuel still is escaping the ship, which is 4,8700 feet below the surface.

Bad weather prevents cleanup crews from containing the spill. The fuel spill could cause 2,500 penguins on their way to their mating grounds to become sick, according to Chilean scientists.

Is the possibility of seeing these birds in their environment worth the possibility of negatively affecting their environment?



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