A media release prepared by the NC Zoo Society today:
"Staff at Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park in Scotland Neck today found themselves cleaning thick, black oil from turtles and birds living in a creek that runs through the Park. The creek, which also runs into an adjacent wetland, was seriously contaminated some time during the night by waste oil.
"“This is a potential tragedy we’re working very hard to mitigate,” Sylvan Heights Executive Director, Mike Lubbock said. “As we do, it’s important that we show people how easily and quickly a resource that benefits all of us can be severely damaged for generations.”
"When the contamination was discovered early this morning, Lubbock immediately notified Scotland Neck police and Sylvan Heights staff began damming the creek with soil to prevent further damage to the wetland and harm to the Roanoke River further down stream. Police called for assistance from the Halifax County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
"So far, the spill does not threaten Sylvan Heights’ captive birds or exhibits and the Park will be open to visitors as scheduled. Animals rescued from the contaminated water will be released into the wild once they are cleaned and determined to be in good health.
"Lubbock remains concerned, however, by potential damage to the wetland area Sylvan Heights maintains on its property. The wetland is part of migration routes for many birds and Sylvan Heights has been working to preserve the area for wildlife. Sylvan Heights also permits limited access to the wetland for educational programming and for visitors to observe a pristine natural habitat.
"The cause, source and magnitude of the spill are still under investigation and efforts to contain the spill continue.
"Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park opened to the public in October 2006. The facility is dedicated to educating people about the importance of conservation and research focusing on waterfowl and wetland habitats. The Waterfowl Park is home to the largest collection of captive waterfowl in the world, many of them rare and endangered."
Labels: NC Zoo, North Carolina Zoological Society, oil spill, Sylvan Heights Waterfowl