Friday, June 18, 2010
Gulf journals: Bird's eye view of an oil disaster


One day, a pelican is flying free and the next, it's thirsty, covered in gooey oil, and being transported 20 minutes via truck to a place it can be cleaned up with detergents. iReporter Michael Rusch has gotten a true bird's eye view of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in Louisiana, whether watching pelican feathers get cleaned or sitting in the cockpit of a helicopter high over the water.


Rusch says just three weeks ago, he was a guy in a loft in New York. But the disaster compelled him to head out to the Gulf Coast to see what was going on for himself. Inside the Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, U.S. wildlife officials told him the rescued birds often come in scared and dehydrated and are given a day to calm down before the cleanup takes place. Rusch said wildlife officials emphasized that the cleaning procedure was probably the scariest thing these pelicans had ever experienced.


"They're very subdued. You can tell that they're very stressed," Rusch said of the oily birds. "They're huddled together, they're scared, they're nervous."


Rusch’s videos show cleaners holding a bird while another does the washing. He captured images of the cleaned birds in a more natural setting afterward, and said they did seem more relaxed at that point.


Rusch is one of many journalistic-minded folks who've headed to the Gulf to help tell this story. He says he's gotten inside access including interviewing Kevin Costner and eating lunch with cleanup workers. He says he's gotten the impression that many organizations, especially BP, are increasingly making their operations more transparent so people are updated on what's going on.


"Just the sheer size of it is a very daunting visual. You're sitting in the helicopter and you can see the oil spilling out in all directions."


Editor's Note: This blog post is part of a series of profiles of Gulf Coast residents and visitors directly affected by the oil disaster. If you'd like to share your story, you can upload photos and videos to CNN iReport.

1 Comment
June 24, 2010
Click to view bdurrani's profile

I feel very badly about all of the animals that are dying and about the individuals who perished however, while everyone is focusing on this they are forgetting the people who rely on the oildfield as a means of financial support.  I know that I have been out of work for just two months and already face losing all of my belongings that are in storage including childhood items, pictures, and my mothers ashes.  You want to do something good, donate money to those individuals who are now out of work due to the blowout.  Better yet, pay my storage room bill.  Just call Linda at 503-492-1400 and state that you want to pay $500.00 towards my storage unit.  Think about the people for a change.  There are a half million people out of work and we are hearing blaming and nonsense rather than positive actions

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