Island oil contamination source still unknown

Environmental officials have not found the source of the oil that contaminated a handful of sea birds and a seal near Gambell on St. Lawrence Island.

A subsistence hunter killed a spotted seal affected by oil Oct. 26. Three common murres were seen with oil on their bellies Sunday. A crested auklet with oil was found Tuesday. Debris soaked with oil also washed ashore on the island 130 miles southwest of Nome.

A Coast Guard flight Thursday detected no oil source

Investigators flew to the island Friday to assess its coast. Responders have sent oil samples to Anchorage.

St. Lawrence Island and its nearshore waters are habitat for threatened or endangered species such as spectacled and Steller’s eiders. There have been no reports of endangered species being affected.

View Reports of oiled wildlife in a larger map

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