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D. Is It Worth Saving Oiled Animals?

Narrator: : Is it worth saving oiled animals? This is Science Today. The most visible victims of an oil spill are the birds and animals that get coated with the stuff, usually fatally. Marine scientist Steve Davenport of the University of California, Santa Cruz says some biologists think rescuing and cleaning them might not be in their best interest. After the Exxon Valdez spill, only about 200 otters were rescued and released.

Davenport: And of those, their fate really is not well known.

Narrator: : Davenport says the stress of human contact might be every bit as harmful as the oil.

Davenport: And the chances of their survival in the wild after release was really 50-50, maybe. So there are some biologists that have expressed the opinion after that experience that those animals that were treated and released, of those, many perhaps would have been better off to have never been exposed to the stress of capture and treatment and so forth, and there may have actually been a greater percentage of success had they just had a hands-off policy.

Narrator: : For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.