INTRODUCTION: An estimated 100-thousand sea birds are believed to have died in oil-polluted waters off the Norwegian and Swedish coasts.
SV Dead bird covered with oil lying on beach PAN TO Another dead bird being picked up
GV Man recovering a live bird out of the sea with a net. Lifts bird out of net (2 shots)
GV Two people picking up dead bird and putting it in plastic bucket containing other dead birds
GV Man on rocks with rifle PAN TO Bird which he shoots. Bird falls into water.
GV Boxes of dead birds PAN TO conservationists and CU Measuring of the birds (3 shots)
AERIAL VIEW Greek tanker Stylis, at sea
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Background: INTRODUCTION: An estimated 100-thousand sea birds are believed to have died in oil-polluted waters off the Norwegian and Swedish coasts. Their feathers saturated with the oil, they could not fly or feed, and most simply froze to death in the bleak North Sea.
SYNOPSIS: The oil-sodden birds began drifting to shore along the Swedish coasts during the last few days of 1980. Thousands of them, all beyond saving, were shot by conservationists and wildlife authorities. In Stockholm, authorities said the losses in Swedish waters were at least ten thousand.
The birds were first washed ashore on the Swedish coast north of Gothenburg but it was not until the New Year, when the Norwegian coast was affected, that the full extent of the tragedy became apparent. Hundreds of volunteers have been working to save as many birds as they can.
Sweden and Norway say the oil-fouling is the worst ever to befall their sea bird populations.They say many of the species affected have been in danger of extinction for some time.
Only a few of those still alive when found can be saved. For most, a quick bullet is the kindest solution. The polluted birds are all those varieties which fly far out to sea to feed.
Naturalists say the plumage is fouled by oil as they dive to feed. Carcasses are being examined to analyse the type of oil which killed them, so that it can be matched to samples from suspect ships.
Included on the inquiry list is the Greek tanker, Stylis, which arrived in England from Norway on Saturday (3 January) with a cargo of fuel oil. Police boarded the tanker and took samples of oil, but stress that Stylis was only one of a number of vessels in the area at the time of the incident. Despite a week-long aerial search, no large oil slick has been found.