OTTAWA, June 11 (UPI) — Wildlife activists say arctic birds migrating south for the winter could be threatened by the massive Gulf of Mexico spill if the spread of oil continues.
The World Wildlife Fund is concerned about the migrating birds stopping in marshes and wetlands along the gulf on their way to nesting grounds in the southern United States and Mexico later this year, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday.
If the spill continues or is not cleaned up by then, a WWF spokesman said, birds could be at risk.
“The real danger is that they could get covered in oil,” Craig Stewart, Arctic director with World Wildlife Fund Canada, said, “which will lead to them losing the insulating effect of their feathers, and they could then die of exposure.”
“Secondly, their food source will potentially not be there,” he added.
“If they can’t track down food because of the oil, then you would have problems with them making it all the way back up to the Arctic afterwards,” he said.
The WWF says more than 200,000 birds of all kinds could die as a result of the spill, CBC reported.
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