'Oiled' ducks emerging after oil spill in Mayflower

Officials say experts will handle animal recovery
An “oiled” duck recovered near the Bell Slough State Wildlife Management Area in Mayflower is en route to HAWK Center, a wildlife rehabilitation group assisting ExxonMobil after a pipeline ruptured and dumped several thousands of barrels of oil Friday. Cleanup of streams, wildlife and residential yards continues this week. COURTNEY SPRADLIN STAFF PHOTO

Ducks covered in oil have been recovered from marshy, wooded lands near Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area and Nature Trail following Friday's ExxonMobil pipeline rupture in Mayflower.

 


Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and other officials were recovering "oiled" ducks Monday and transporting them to HAWK Center, a wildlife rehabilitation organization in Pope County.


Lynne Slater, HAWK executive director, said volunteers received three oiled ducks late Sunday, and she had "several more" coming in to be cleaned Monday.


Slater said she and other certified volunteers have been cleaning the ducks with Dawn dish soap.


"We're limited on time and resources at the moment, but we're doing what we can with what we have," Slater said Monday. "Today we've fielded calls from a dozen people."


She said the animals that have been treated appear to be recovering.


"The oil is extremely thick. It is like removing gum from someone's hair. That's how thick it is getting it out of feathers," she said.


ExxonMobil spokesman Alan Jeffers said only Hazmat certified individuals should catch or transport the oiled ducks.


"We're encouraging people for their own safety and health for the animals to not touch them or recover them, but call the number and experts will treat them," Jeffers said. "We want to get the animals treated as quickly as possible."


To report an oiled animal, call 1-800-876-9291.

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