Oiled seabird being cleaned

Oiled seabird being cleaned

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Credit: DELPHINE AURES/EURELIOS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Oiled seabird being cleaned. Guillemot (Uria aalge) being cleaned at an animal rescue centre after an oil spill. Seabirds covered in oil will die from hypothermia as the oil destroys their waterproofing, and from poisoning as they attempt to groom their feathers. Handling by humans during the cleaning process can cause fatal levels of stress, but before automated washing methods can be used, a meticulous manual cleaning of the head and a brief manual cleaning of the body has to be performed. Warm, soapy water is used to remove the oil. This bird was rescued following the wreck of the oil tanker Erika in 1999 off the coast of Brittany, France. Photographed in Nantes, France.

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