oil spill credit river

Toronto Wildlife Centre rescues swans and ducks after oil spill in Credit River

Rescue teams from the Toronto Wildlife Centre and Mississauga Animal Services as well as several volunteers rushed to the shore of the Credit River last Friday to save as many birds as possible after reports of an oil spill in the area. 

Roughly 2,000 litres of diesel ended up in the body of water in Port Credit last week after two oil barrels belonging to Danco Logistics Inc., a trucking transportation company, ended up in the stormwater system and eventually the Credit River. 

Wildlife workers arrived at the scene as soon as they were made aware of the situation last Friday, and they did everything in their power to save any birds they could find. 

"Oily products of any kind can be toxic if ingested and causes waterfowl to lose the waterproofing of their feathers," wrote TWC in a Facebook post about the rescue mission earlier this week. 

"These substances can also affect other wildlife nearby like beavers, minks, turtles, and other birds. Waterproofed feathers keep waterfowl warm and dry in cold water, and are even more vital now that the temperatures are dropping."

Upon arriving, TWC rescuers Sarrah and Emily waded out into the water with their nets, being careful to avoid any traces of oil, and directed volunteers to get towels and a kennel cab for their first rescue: a duck whose feathers were covered in the toxic substance.

"They continued to search for more oiled victims down the river, and found three swans whose feathers had already started losing their waterproofing," wrote TWC. "Not long after, Giuliana and Kayla from Mississauga Animal Services had caught a fourth swan and rushed her to the centre to join the others."

And while wildlife experts searched for and caught birds in an effort to save them, TWC said a number of local community members also rallied at the scene, ready to help. 

One man, according to TWC, had arrived at the river intending to enjoy a leisurely kayak ride but immediately offered to help search for any birds when he saw what had unfolded. 

And a local dog-walker named Darlene, who is known for aiding the rescue team with searching for coyotes, arrived at the scene already wearing water gear to help capture more victims of the oil spill. 

The community member who initially noticed the first two oiled swans and reported the oil spill to the wildlife centre, a woman named Valerie, meanwhile helped transport patients to the centre so the rescue team could continue searching for more affected waterfowl.

"Many other people offered to help in any way needed," wrote TWC.

All told, the rescue team and volunteers captured and saved two trumpeter swans, two mute swans, and two mallards, and TWC says each pair is being cared for together. 

One of the mallards was later discovered to have a swollen wing caused by a hook that had been deeply lodged inside, and she underwent surgery this week so it could be safely removed. 

"Almost all the oil on each bird has been washed off with specialized baths, and the Credit River has since been cleared of oil," they said. 

"TWC's volunteers and Rescue Team are still monitoring the scene and checking for any more birds who might still be oiled. If you see any waterfowl or other wildlife who've been affected by the oil spill, please call our Wildlife Hotline at 416-631-0662."

Lead photo by

Toronto Wildlife Centre

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