Sunday, September 13, 2009

Australian Oil Spill Threatening Wildlife

An oil rig in the Timor Sea has been spilling 400 gallons of oil a day into the ocean for the past three weeks. It will take at least another two weeks before the damage is repaired and the leak stopped. In the meantime, despite efforts to break up the slick, the oil has been drifting south towards the Australian coast.

Environmental groups believe the contamination poses a significant threat to wildlife and is heading towards land.

Piers Verstegen, from the Conservation Council of Western Australia, says the spill - off the north coast of the Kimberley region where whales congregate - is an ecological disaster.

"Humpback whales, an endangered species, go to that area and that region to calf and give birth and this oil spill is happening just off the Kimberley coast," Mr Verstegen said.

"The oil, as far as we are aware, is travelling towards the Kimberley coastline but it is definitely affecting areas that are used by these whales and dolphins."

Fishermen have reported seeing endangered flatback turtles covered in oil.

There have also been claims that fish and sea-snakes have been poisoned.
Incidents like this are exactly why oil drilling in sensitive ecological areas should be avoided as much as possible.