Galapagos Oil Spill: Technical Report 05 Feb 2001
The Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) continues to coordinate the clean up, monitoring and wildlife rescue operations throughout the archipelago. The latest GNPS press release gives information on their activities.
The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) has supported GNPS efforts, particularly through monitoring. Results of the various trips underway continue to come in and the impacts so far have been minimal.
On Friday February 2, the vessel Flamingo I returned to Santa Cruz. The team of scientists had systematically monitored several sites along the southern coast of Isabela. On Thursday they landed at eight sites, at three of which they found small balls (about 1cm_3 i.e. cubed) of bunker fuel deposited along the high tide mark.
The team of marine biologists in the vessel Nortada returned on Thursday February 1st, after visiting Santa Fe, Isabela, San Cristobal and Floreana. The researchers took sediment and biological samples from all the sites they visited. The samples are first being processed at the Marine Biology laboratory of the Charles Darwin Research Station and will then be taken to Heriott Watt University in Edinburgh for analysis. The team also monitored the wildlife in the area (birds, sea lions and marine iguanas). While the biologists were in Santa Fe, they carried out intertidal and subtidal monitoring at the same sites they had checked before the fuel reached Santa Fe. The two surveys will be compared to give a better idea of the fuel spill's impact on intertidal marine life. On Thursday the team joined Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg during his inspection of Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz. They took samples of sediment from both the beaches found in the Bay.
There is currently one pelican in the Rescue Center established at the CDRS headquarters in Santa Cruz. It has been stabilized and washed and is now recuperating. The final six pelicans were released from San Cristobal this morning. However monitoring and evaluation will continue. Most of the experts who came to help in the crisis have returned to their respective countries, leaving a few key members to continue the treatment of the birds.
International experts gave training courses on bird rescue and rehabilitation in Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. CDRS and GNP personnel, and members of the local community learned how to catch, wash, and treat oiled birds.