I have no idea how this will ever ever ever be solved, but saw this last week (yeah, I'm a week behind in my reading) and made note of it (though apparently not the source...):
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported 522 dead birds — at least 38 of them oiled — along the Gulf coast states, and more than 80 oiled birds have been rescued. It's not clear exactly how many of the deaths can be attributed to the spill.
Dead birds and animals found during spills are kept as evidence in locked freezers until investigations and damage assessments are complete, according to Teri Frady, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
"This includes strict chain-of-custody procedures and long-term locked storage until the investigative and damage assessment phases of the spill are complete," she wrote in an e-mail.
Let me point out the most important part of this news segment:
Dead birds and animals found during spills are kept as evidence in locked freezers until investigations and damage assessments are complete..
Um...we do not know when that will be...it could be months, a year maybe, YEARS?? And in the meantime, we are going to store countless numbers of dead animals in a locked freezer? Until damage assessments are COMPLETE. I don't see how that's going to happen anytime soon. And in the meantime, we are keeping each carcass??? That seems a bit insane. I hate that this oil spill happened---it was a stupid corporate decision not to have a plan in place to fix this "what if" scenario...but isn't it also stupid for us to save EVERY bird & animal who dies because of it? Can't someone just log the numbers in a database somewhere? Or maybe in a journal ($2.99 at Target)?