Students Experience Oil Response Workshop

Friday, July 9, 2010 - 8:34am

The Gulf oil spill is a hot topic, from livelihood lost to wildlife harmed, Na'Tassia Finley has more on how area residents are preparing to make a difference, if they're called upon to help with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill or any other spill effecting species in the Gulf.

You've seen the pictures and heard the reports, the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is having detrimental effects on wildlife who live or migrate to the area. Right now you're looking at a group of people who may potentially lend a hand in wildlife clean up for the current, or any future oil spill in the Gulf.

On Thursday, the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville held an oil response workshop in collaboration with the Wildlife Rehab and Education Wildlife Center from Houston. The goal is to educate on what it takes to handle and clean injured animals, but the course went much deeper than that. Experts in the field shared examples of specific harm that birds could face.

Some of the students were surprised to find that even one tiny drop of oil can prevent an egg fro hatching. Here in the Rio Grande Valley, birds saturated in oil could face hypothermia  and the sun beating down on an oil drenched body can cause the bird to burn. Other factors on how oil could affect birds is their buoyance factor, too much oil, the bird can drown or if it's too heavy, it can't fly.

Jonathan Rodriguez, who is studying to become a Marine Biologist, hopes to take the information he's learned from the course and apply it in the field one day. Students attending the class will receive a completion certificate, but more education and training is required before they're able to participate in rescue efforts.

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