Last June, I wrote a blog post about the public relations activity of British Petroleum. I included a photo of a bird grotesquely covered in oil on the coast of Louisiana. Here is a follow-up, about cleaning up some of those birds.
Two days ago, the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet show featured a story called Preserving the Pelicans. It followed the rescue, cleaning and release of pelicans caught in last year’s British Petroleum spill in the Atlantic. The clean-up operation is managed by the International Bird Rescue Research Centre, who have been doing this since 1971. Years of experimenting with cleaning products saw the use of solvents so strong that volunteers needed to wear masks and birds were passing out.
Then Dawn dish soap was discovered to yes, cut grease, just like their ads say. Every five years, the Centre conducts tests to see if they might improve their cleaning products and Dawn continues to be the best thing.
The Daily Planet showed a cleaning centre for the BP spill where pelicans were in holding areas until they could be cleaned. These are very stressed birds, visibly shaking. There are many cleaning steps, from a general wash to detailed, feather-specific, painstakingly careful cleaning. Because the oil reduces their warmth, the birds’ bath water is kept at 104 degrees Fahrenheit, their usual body temperature.
It’s a long process which considers not just physical needs but the stress of the experience. Once ready to leave, they are flown far away from the spill and released back into suitable habitats.
Dawn is active in wildlife conservation donating both soap and money to projects. For more information about their programs, check out their website.