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DVMs help birds struggling to survive oil spill

Article

San Francisco - 11/12/07 - San Francisco Bay's worst oil spill in nearly two decades has already claimed the lives of at least 100 birds, while veterinarians and staff at a local wildlife center work to treat hundreds more for contamination.

San Francisco - 11/12/07 - San Francisco Bay's worst oil spill in nearly two decades has already claimed the lives of at least 100 avians, while veterinarians and staff at a local wildlife center work to treat hundreds more for contamination.

After striking the Bay Bridge last week, the Cosco Busan leaked 58,000 gallons of fuel into the bay, forcing the close of nearly two dozen beaches across miles of coastline that have been contaminated.

A criminal probe was opened today to evaulate crew members' actions.

The San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife and Education Center in Cordelia has received and cared for at least 200 birds since the spill, with many more expected througout the week. Ninety-eight birds have died as a result of exposure to the oil, according to Greg Massey, response veterinarian with the Wildlife Care Network.

With a capcity of 1,500 birds, the center utilizes the help of technicians and trained volunteers to help stabilize, clean and rehabilitate the birds. The hourlong-average cleaning process is performed using a mild dish soap and involves sometimes more than 30 minutes of rinsing and up to 12 tubs of water to ensure the birds are thoroughly cleaned. Birds may then take up to three weeks to be completely rehabilitated, Massey says.

Anyone who sees an impacted avian should report its location to the center by calling (415) 701-2311. Within San Francisco city limits, simply call 311.

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