Estonia mystery spill

Animals affected
hundreds of birds affected
Species affected: 
Long-tailed ducks, mute swans, golden-eyes and smews (Eurasian diving ducks)
International support: 

As local responders did not have experience in treating live birds, a call for international assistance was made to Sea Alarm on 2 February. After contacting the Estonian Fund for Nature, Sea Alarm liaised with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (RSPCA). Within 24 hours, representatives from Sea Alarm and IFAW were on site in Estonia, assisting with the organisation of the response.

A team was mobilised consisting of IFAW Emergency Response, RSPCA (UK), Bird Protection Flandres (Belgium) and Project Blue Sea (Germany). A temporary wildlife hospital was set up where over 100 live birds were treated. As part of the activities in the wildlife hospital, local people were trained.

A considerable pool of Estonian expertise is now prepared to provide immediate response to a future incident. The Ministry of Environment is updating the national oil spill plan which will include an explicit section on oiled wildlife.

Amount and type of oiled spilled: 
20 tonnes estimated
Wildlife Response: 

The arrival of oiled birds on 26 January 2006 was the first signal that something was wrong; the oil was observed one day later. The number of dead and live birds quickly increased and an integrated oil spill and oiled wildlife response was organised by the local authorities (Rescue Service, Ministry of Environment) in cooperation with a local NGO, the Estonian Fund for Nature.