Dozens of blue herons found dead at oilsands site in Alberta, Canada

The Alberta Energy Regulator is investigating the deaths of about 30 blue herons at an oilsands site north of Fort McMurray.
 
Bob Curran, a spokesperson with the AER, said one bird was found covered in oil Wednesday at the Syncrude Canada Mildred Lake oilsands mine site. It was alive, but had to be euthanized, Curran said over the phone Saturday.
 
“It had oil on it so they contacted Fish and Wildlife and requested permission to euthanize it,” said Curran.
 
Syncrude staff  investigated the site further and found other dead birds. They were reported to the AER on Friday.
 
“They were close to a sump which is a low area where runoff fluids gather. And there was some bitumen there which impacted the one bird that they found this week and euthanized. The others were outside of that area so it’s unclear what the cause of death was.”
 
It’s not yet known exactly when the birds died.
 
“Some of them have been dead longer than others. We are going to have to make that determination once our staff have arrived on the site,” he said.
“They were in different stages of decomposition so we don’t know how long they were dead at this time.”
The cause of the birds’ death is under investigation. The AER said it is working with departments from the provincial government to ensure that all safety, wildlife and environmental requirements are being met.
Courtesy of globalnews.ca

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