Clean or Kill- By Amanda O’Hara

Many of you have heard about the major oil spill the Gulf of Mexico.  The spill has been going on for over 50 days now and is killing many wildlife species.  BP is working on ways to fix this major problem. There are many types of wildlife becoming ill, and many of these animals lives will end due to the oil in their habitats. Scientists are debating whether to kill the oil-covered birds, or to clean them up, and provide care for these harmed birds.

“According to serious studies, the middle-term survival rate of oil-soaked birds is under 1 percent,” says Silvia Gaus, a biologist at the Wattenmeer National Park. Biologists on the scene who are involved in the cleanup tell a slightly different story: Sure, sometimes it makes sense to kill the birds who aren’t going to make it, or leave them to die in their natural habitat. But scientists say that they feel a duty to try saving the birds if there’s a chance they can be saved.

Rick Steiner, an Alaska marine biologist who was involved in the 1989 Exxon Valdez cleanup and is now assisting Greenpeace. “It was in horrible shape,” he told reporters, “and I doubt seriously that it will survive the day. But, you know, we caused their pain and suffering, so we owe it to them to do everything we possibly can to give them a fighting chance of survival.”

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other groups involved in the cleanup show that 413 oil-covered birds have been collected alive, and 594 dead birds have been picked up.  Out of  all those birds, only 39 have been released back into the wild, or brought back to their natural habitat.

Other studies indicate that the survival rate for cleaned-up birds can be quite high, from 78% to 100%.   And as bad as those oily birds may look in the pictures from Louisiana, scientists said it’s often the oiliest birds that have the highest survival rate. That’s because they tend to be picked up earlier, before dehydration, hypothermia and other ills have come into the birds life.

These birds have had a very hard time in living in their habitats since April.  There are many ways to save the birds, so why not?  Cleaning these birds may be a bit time consuming, but it costs little money, and will save many birds.

Discussion Questions:

Why do you think some are debating of they should just kill the birds?

Give 1 reason why they should clean the birds, and give one reason why they should kill the birds.

Information found at


~ by Student Entry on June 9, 2010.

9 Responses to “Clean or Kill- By Amanda O’Hara”

  1. I think that Amanda made good points in her blog because it showed how much of a desaster this oil spill has turned out to be, like how it is killing many inient animas, and how the oil spill has lead tar balls to start appering in shore lines of many diiferent beaches. Also the oils spill has caused many states torism skale to have a major decrease because many people go to specific places because they enjoy the beach or something, but this oil spill makes them rethink about if they want to risk the cance of going to a beach tha t might be polouted with tar balls, and if people didn’t want to go to those states anymore, it would be bad becaus emany states make their income off of torism and because of this oil spill, bye bye income for all you states.

  2. I really liked your article. I found it very interesting that scientists are debating on wether or not to kill the birds. I think that the birds should be cleaned. I’m sure that a lot of volunteers would love to help clean the birds. The scientists might be debating on this issue because it is time consuming and nobody is 100% sure that the birds will live. One reason why they should clean the birds are that we spilt the oil on them as Rick Steiner said. It is the right thing to do if we clean them up. One reason that we shouldn’t clean birds is that it is very time consuming. Over all though, if we clean the birds we will be one step closer to rebuilding an eco-system.

  3. Very good blog!! It was very interesting and i never knew so much about the topic. Good Job!!

    Question 1: I think that some are debating to just kill the birds because doing this would be less costly and easier. Also if they do not do anything than the birds will die on their own, so people find that it will just take more time and money to clean them.

    Question 2: One reason why people should clean the birds are, that by cleaning the birds they will save a lot of a certain species, and will not let them die. One reason that they should just kill the birds is that cleaning all of the birds is to costly and takes up to much time and it would be much easier to kill them.

  4. Great blog Amanda! I learned a lot.
    1. I think that they are still debating because many things will be affected by the birds being killed.If they kill the birds, it’ll be cheaper, but eventually most of them will just dies on their own.
    2.They should clean the birds because they’ll be saving one more animal from the oil spill and it’ll save the birds life. Also, its cheaper. They should kill the birds because most of them are eventually going to die. In addition, it’ll just be easier.

    Good job amanda!

  5. Great Job writing this article. You had great facts and information. I didn’t even think about the animals covered with oil. You tough me a lot and i really liked it. I thought you knew were you were talking about and didn’t just write about something just to get extra credit. Overall you did a great job.

    Jordan C

  6. Great Job writing this article. You had great facts and information. I didn’t even think about the animals covered with oil. You tought me a lot and i really liked it. I thought you knew what you were talking about and didn’t just write about something just to get extra credit. Overall you did a great job.

    Jordan C

  7. Great Job!!! 🙂 You used a lot of information in your blog article. Good thing you decided to write about the birds in oil because if you didn’t nobody would even know about the poor little birds and we wouldn’t even really care. Great Job!!! 🙂

  8. Your blog was great, filled with lots of information and details. It is amazing that some scientists actually want to leave some of these birds to die in their habitat. But, the scientist who are really helping out these unfortunate birds are very cinciderate. Hoewever, I am not exactly sure why the some scientists want to leave these birds to die, but I am guessing that they are being lazy. So what, just a little time, effort, and money?!? They would be helping out the birds, that would have never needed to be helped if only the tank hadn’t sunk and the tube had broken. So, we basically owe it to the birds. Also, it was good to put some quotes in from the other scientis, because then we can see their outlook on the issue. Lastly, you did an excellent job!

  9. Great blog! Nice information too! I think scientists are debating whether of not to kill the birds because the birds have a high chance of not surviving. Moreover, it takes time, patience, and a little money. However, like Ani said, the scientists should care for these little poor animals. We were the ones who caused them to die, so we should be the ones to help them stay alive any possible way there is.
    One reason the scientists should help the birds is because they are living creatures like we are. We were the ones that caused them to be at risk for dieing, so we should be the ones to help them stay alive. However, if we try to help them, we are causing them to suffer. And if we don’t succeed in helping them stay alive, we just made them suffer longer for nothing. Therefore, scientists aren’t sure what to do about this crisis.

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