HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — As of Monday, four oiled birds had been gathered from the weekend's massive oil spill off the coast of Orange County, although one had to be euthanized due to its injuries.
One of the birds, a brown pelican, had "chronic injuries" and was euthanized. Teams at the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center were working to treat and rehabilitate the other three birds.
It is still early in the response but wildlife experts said they are cautiously optimistic that the spill is not as bad as they initially feared.
"Right now with four live birds collected to date, its' much better than we had feared," Michael Ziccardi, director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network based at UC Davis said Monday. "But typically spills of this nature, we're here for several weeks to months continuing to respond to animals and respond to calls for animals that may be out there. So it's really too early to tell, but we are cautiously optimistic."
TIMELINE: Huntington Beach Oil Spill
Crews were working Monday to stop the spread of oil from entering the wetlands in Huntington Beach although there was no way to stop birds from landing on the slick water. There was also concern about the sea life below the surface.
There was no immediate estimate on how much sea life may perish due to the spill but crews said they will be looking to see what washes onshore in the coming days.
"We have been asked many, many times what can the public do what can people do if they want to help," Ziccardi said. "First and foremost we need people to not try to catch oiled animals. It's not safe for the animals, it's not safe for them, because oil can be a toxic substance. We ask that they report those sightings immediately to our hotline."
That hotline is 877-823-6926.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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