Oil leak harms birdlife in Iceland Skip to content

Oil leak harms birdlife in Iceland

Two eiders were found with oil in their feathers yesterday near Gardskagaviti, a lighthouse on Reykjanes peninsula. The oil is believed to have leaked from a stranded ship that ran ashore shortly before Christmas.

Last weekend about one hundred oil laden birds were spotted in the same area. “We have to find the origin of the oil and investigate the state of the birds in the area in more detail,” biologist Gunnar Thór Hallgrímsson told Fréttabladid.

“At least dozens of birds will be killed but it is impossible to tell what the consequences will be at this stage, whether the pollution will affect certain species or the birdlife in the area in general,” Hallgrímsson added.

A ten to 20-meter large oil spot was found in the ocean by the Cypriot vessel Wilson Muuga which has still not been moved since it ran ashore. Most of the oil it was carrying was pumped out of the ship in late December.

The oil spot is in an area where eider and other shorebirds look for food. Biologists fear more birds could also have oil in their feathers. The birds found yesterday were taken to Reykjavík Farm Animal Zoo to be cleaned and cared for.

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