Dozens of oil-covered ducks have been rescued after a truck accident caused mineral oil to spill into Mimico Creek in Toronto.
The spill was first reported on Tuesday morning, when a passerby walked by the creek and noticed the water was covered in a black, oily substance and the ducks were having trouble moving their wings.
Volunteers from the Toronto Wildlife Centre were immediately dispatched to the scene, along with Toronto Animal Services, Toronto Fire, and staff from the Ontario Ministry of Environment.
One by one, the birds were pulled from the creek and taken to the Toronto Wildlife Centre. So far, around 60 ducks have been rescued, including seven ducklings. As volunteers continue to search the area, the centre expects to receive more ducks.
Back at the centre, the ducks’ mouths were cleaned and tube-fed charcoal, which will help absorb any oil that was ingested. A “flash bathing” triage removed the bulk of the oil from, while multiple baths throughout the next few days will ensure they’re completed cleaned and waterproof.
Not only does oil hinder a bird’s ability to move, the Toronto Wildlife Centre notes on their website that it can “destroy the birds waterproofing and wreck havoc on their digestive systems as the birds try to preen the oil off of their feathers.”
More than 8-kilometers of the waterway has been contaminated by the spill, which is thought to have been caused by a collision the evening before. On Monday night, a transport truck carrying power transformers flipped over on Highway 427, causing the transformers to break and leak mineral oil.
Kate Jordan, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, told the Toronto Star that oil could have spilled into a catch basin near the highway that was connected to the storm sewer system.
City workers and firefighters have set up a containment booms to prevent the oil from spreading further along the creek.
The Toronto Wildlife Centre is asking for donations of Dawn original formula dish soap to help with the clean-up.