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12 baby birds die as fuel spill threatens local wildlife - abc27 WHTM

12 baby birds die as fuel spill threatens local wildlife

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

A hiker notified the Game Commission about a group of birds who were doused with diesel fuel. Several wildlife agencies came and were able to recover a dozen goslings. They were bathed and it looked like a few might make it, but sadly by Friday afternoon, all 12 had died.

"With water fowl they have a natural repellant on their feathers," said Travis Lau of the PA Game Commission.  

What the diesel fuel did was not only poison the Canada Geese Gosling from the inside, but destroy that vital water repellant coating, leaving the baby birds extremely susceptible to hypothermia.

"Two field officers were in a canoe paddling around Wildwood netting these baby ducks in the hopes of rescuing them," he said.  

Twelve young birds were quickly taken in for baths; the adult geese being too hard to catch.

The hopes of rescuers were soon dashed.
 
"I think it's sad quite frankly," said Lau, "Despite our best efforts these baby birds did not make it."

According to the Game Commission, fuel from the accident ran off unto storm drains which contaminated Paxton Creek and in-turn the Wildwood marshlands. The park is scheduled to be closed until Tuesday for emergency clean-up.

Yellow "booms" now line the parameter of the lake. They are flotation devices used to capture fuel from the top of the water.

Intermittent cannon blasts will also be heard, they are used to scare birds or warn them to stay away.

Lau also adds that there are still ducks and geese flying around the park with fuel stuck to them.

The focus is now on those birds, along with the mammals and other aquatic life that use the land for feeding this time of year, including several endangered species.  

The good news is that Wildwood park is still very alive. In spite of a man-made intrusion, nature has a quiet way of moving forward.

Certainly something to help keep things in perspective if you should find yourself sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.

The Game Commission also asking for the public help. If you spot a bird or animal with what appears to be fuel stains on them, please contact the Commission at 610-926-3136.

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