Waterfowl in the Atlantic Beach area are still suffering after a tugboat wreck in Far Rockaway unleashed 6,000 to 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the water last month. Wildlife rehabilitators are still finding sickened sea birds around the Far Rockaway area. Even though several weeks have passed, rescuers are continuing to find oil-covered razorbills and loons, proving that the spill has had a devastating and long-lasting effect on marine life in the area.



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The tugboat Sea Lion crashed on January 15th, 2013 and sunk just off the coast of Atlantic Beach, spilling its diesel oil contents with it. Initially, NYC Parks workers found just 10 birds that were killed by being drenched in the oil, but as time passed, they found more and more birds affected by the spill.

Park workers came upon a razorbill at the end of last month that was so stained with oil, they thought it was a lost penguin. Other waterfowl have also turned up on the beach with deep black markings from oil acting lethargic and disoriented.

Some of the affected birds may have migrated to the area after the accident, but as they swim in the waters, they accumulate part of the spill that still floats at the surface. As the birds clean themselves, they ingest the oil, and then become very sick, which can lead to death if not treated.

For now, park officials are treating birds found with oil contamination at the Volunteers for Wildlife in Locust Valley.

Via NY Daily News

Images ©marinephotobank and ©USFWS/Southeast