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Tava’esina dies from oil spill at Malaloa dock

A hazardous oil spill was recently spotted in the ocean at the Malaloa dock, and Boating Access personnel Tovine Leifi from the Department of Marine and Wildlife (DMWR) noticed a bird struggling in the oil and immediately alerted the DMWR Wildlife Division.

The bird was brought to the department lab where Wildlife personnel Mark MacDonald, Ailao Tualaulelei, and Jefferey Vaito’a identified it as a White-Tailed Tropic Bird, known in the Samoan language as Tava’esina.

Healthy Tropic Bird [courtesy photo]

 The bird was found smothered in oil and was barely able to move. The Wildlife team proceeded with the recovery process by filling a container with fresh water and concentrated dish soap to remove the oil. They carefully cleansed the wings and body of the bird.

An oil spill such as this is traumatizing and extremely life threatening for birds and fish. Bigeye Scad, widely known as Atule were also spotted skim feeding through the oil and as a result are unsuitable for human consumption. 

For the Tava’esina, the harm from the oil caused too much suffering for the bird and it was unable to survive.

Tropic Bird in lab [courtesy photo]

If you see any animals in distress from hazards such as oils spills, please contact DMWR at 633-4456.

The cause of this recent oil spill is currently under investigation.