Update on wildlife response in Alberta bitumen release

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Several weeks ago, International Bird Rescue was activated to assist in collection and rehabilitation efforts for wildlife affected by the bitumen release at the Canadian Natural Resources Limited Primrose Project in northern Alberta.

Working alongside The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton and the Oiled Wildlife Society of British Columbia, we currently have MAPthree technicians in the field — two capture technicians and one field-stabilization technician. As some bird species begin their fall migration as early as July, our team is hard at work to deter animals from the affected area, using such methods as air horns and “bear bangers.” Only a few flyovers have been reported in recent days, however. The field team has deployed many traps to collect birds found in the area for care and/or relocation.

We also have several response team members working as part of a nine-person rehabilitation team at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton. A total of 94 animals have been brought into care during this event, with bird species including Ring-necked Ducks, a Great Horned Owl, American Coots, Green-winged Teals and a Black Tern.

As of Monday, 66 animals (including 23 muskrats) have been released far from the affected area, with more still in care.

Founded in 1971, International Bird Rescue has extensive experience in oiled wildlife events around the world. During the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we co-managed oiled bird rehabilitation centers in four states as part of a large-scale response to the incident that involved federal and state agencies, industry and non-governmental organizations.

Find out more about our response program here. We’ll keep you posted on the response effort via this blog.

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Update: Below, photos of beaver release at a location far removed from the bitumen-affected area, photos by Judith Paquin, communications and development director for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton.

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Beaver release 2sm

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