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The oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Keywords: oil spill , otter , enhydra , lontra

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Following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound Alaska, on March 24, 1989, treatment centres for sea otters were set up at Valdez, Seward and Homer. Otter survival rates were lower at Valdez than at Seward, probably because the animals collected were closer to the spill in time and space, and oil toxicity was at a maximum. Otters collected in Prince William Sound were predominantly female and pregnant or lactating. Weathered oil persists in otter habitats throughout the spill zone - long term studies are underway to assess the effects of this.


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