Oil Now Surrounds World Heritage Site, Inaccessible Island. Thousands of Endangered Penguins, Seabirds at Risk

Inaccessible Island, a World Heritage Site

Inaccessible Island, a World Heritage Site

ABOARD PRINCE ALBERT II: I spoke today with Katrine Herrion, a project officer of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) stationed at Tristan da Cunha.

Katrine was camped on Inaccessible Island last weekend and reports that as of Sunday, oil completely surrounded the island. She and her team observed nearly 100 oiled penguins just before they departed. Clearly many more are being impacted.

Trevor Glass, Director of the Tristan da Cunha Department of Conservation was planning to return to Tristan da Cunha from Nightingale Island with around 750 penguins for rehabilitation. This represents a small percentage of the number of birds estimated to be impacted at this point, conservatively estimated at more than 10,000.

Because penguins cannot fly, it is impossible for them to avoid the oil when entering and exiting the water. Oil impacts the waterproof properties of their feathers and makes them vulnerable to hypothermia by reducing their feather’s insulation abilities. Oil can seriously impact the birds’ eyes and other tissues and can poison them if they ingest the oil while attempting to clean their feathers. A number of oiled seals have also been observed on Nightingale Island. [Read more…]

Aboard the Cape to Cape Expedition: Disaster at Nightingale Island

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March 21, 2011: The Prince Albert II finds itself in the middle of a rescue mission as its expedition team comes to the rescue of a cargo ship that has run aground at one of the most remote islands in the world, Nightingale Island, part of the Tristan da Cunha island group, an area that is home to the second largest population of seabirds in the world, including half of the world’s endangered Northern Rockhopper penguin population. When the ship breaks up and begins spilling its 300,000 gallons of heavy marine oil, it becomes clear that this may rank as one of the most serious environmental disasters of its kind.

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Aboard the Cape to Cape Expedition: In Shackleton’s Footsteps on South Georgia Island

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March 14, 2011: Join the Ocean Doctor aboard the Prince Albert II as he reports from the Cape to Cape Expedition, traveling from the tip of South America to the tip of South Africa. This week we follow Ernest Shackleton’s footsteps on South Georgia Island where he found rescue for his doomed Antarctic expedition. We also get up close — very close — to the splendid Antarctic wildlife of this beautiful island, encountering penguins, seals, albatross and learn about the legacy of whaling here.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

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Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

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Aboard the Cape to Cape Expedition: Ushuaia and the Falkland Islands

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March 7, 2011: Join the Ocean Doctor aboard the Prince Albert II as he reports from the Cape to Cape Expedition, traveling from the tip of South America to the tip of South Africa. This week, we “land in a postcard” in beautiful Ushuaia, Argentina and encounter penguins and albatross in the beautiful Falkland Islands. Also: The second of a two-part look at a newly-issued report by World Resources Institute, “Reefs at Risk Revisited” a report that history may well show is the most important report about the oceans to be released this century. It’s more than a wakeup call — it’s truly our last call to take action to save coral reefs.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

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Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

Like the show? Learn how to become a sponsor. [Read more…]