Specialists Treat Tiny Birds Rescued From Recent Southern California Oil Spill

Although it is currently a task to get the animals cleaned up now, officials are optimistic the birds will fully recover.

At the Oiled Wildlife Care Network Treatment Center in Los Angeles, staffers are treating over two dozen birds caught in the oil spill off the region's coast a couple of weeks ago.

"We actually have seven live snowy plovers," said Mike Ziccardi, Director of The Oiled Wildlife Care Network. "They're small shorebirds that are federally threatened species, very sensitive species.

"So they were oiled," Ziccardi continued. "So they're shorebirds, so they likely got oil walking in it."

He adds that officials are optimistic the birds will fully recover.

"This is the best place in the world to care for oiled animals. On average, for spills where we can get out there quickly, we average about a 50 to 75% release rate for live animals that come in, actually releasing them back into their habitats."

For now, cleanup continues along the shore. Although some beaches have reopened, the public still isn't allowed into the water. As for the birds, they're probably looking forward to returning to nature soon.

The coast guard is investigating the incident with other agencies as a "major marine casualty" because a vessel was potentially involved. In total, damages from the spill have exceeded $500,000. 

They will now determine if criminal charges, civil penalties, or new laws or regulations are needed.

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