Data collected following the 2011 M/V Rena spill in New Zealand document recovery of a population of endangered dotterels after pre-emptive capture and management, and normal behavior in little blue penguins released after cleaning and rehabilitation.
A number of studies are finding links to oil exposure as a factor in wildlife population health over time. Much of the recent research has focused on fish and benthic invertebrates but work continues on determining the role of the Deepwater Horizon incident in dolphin deaths in Barataria Bay, Louisiana and great northern diver populations that overwinter in the Gulf.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s recently released Oil Spill Response for Polar Bears in Alaska focuses on keeping oil away from polar bears, acknowledging that there is limited capacity to care for these large marine animals once they are oiled.
A spill of unknown origin was reported off of Queensland, Australia on 17 July 2015 but no reports of impacts on wildlife were confirmed until 30 July. Two flatback turtles and two brown boobies were the first oiled wildlife to be brought in. Oil has reached beaches near Ingham and and on Hinchinbrook and Palm Islands.
The Toronto Wildlife Centre is caring for more than 90 oiled ducks from the Mimico Creek area in Toronto after three electrical transformers being transported on a truck that rolled over on a highway ramp leaked an estimated 8,000 litres of oil.
Clean up crews are working on New Zealand’s North Island to recover a small amount of oil from an unknown source that began hitting the area between Foxton and Himatangi on 15 June. As of 16 June no oiled birds have been found but crews did report a juvenile seal with a patch of oil on it.
SANCCOB is caring for 30 oiled African penguins found by rangers on two islands in Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa. There are more oiled birds on the islands, however inclement weather is holding back their transport off the islands.
One tarball from a Los Angeles County beach, approximately 150km south of the spill, was confirmed as matching oil from this spill. No further live oiled birds have been found in recent weeks but one live marine mammal was rescued.
One week after a leaky line on a ship spilled an unknown quantity of bunker oil at the Port of Tauranga in New Zealand, there are a few isolated reports of impacted birds, only one of which was captured. In the UK more than 30 birds were taken into care after being coated in cooking oil.
Three Cory’s shearwaters (Calonectris borealis) have been taken into care on Gran Canaria as part of the response to an oil spill from a sunken Russian trawler. Experts are continuing to patrol the area looking for more oil-impacted wildlife.