Conservation group says several species have declined over last decade.
Chronic industrial pollution and small spills from oil tankers moving through Burrard Inlet are contributing to declining numbers of birds in Stanley Park, according to the conservation program manager for the Stanley Park Ecology Society.
Robyn Worcester said in the past decade conservation group Bird Studies Canada has found a decline in the number of loons and grebes that rely on small fish in the intertidal areas for their food. Birds also feed on the Pacific blue mussels and barnacles that live close to shore.
Worcester said minor oil spills aren’t the only cause of the declines, but they do play a role along with other factors, such as climate change and fluctuating ocean temperatures.
“We’re seeing declines of these birds,” she said. “Maybe there is stress on their food supply, which is the small fish. Instead of increasing the amount of pollution, I think we have to focus on making things better.”
Worcester is one of three panelists at a discussion Monday on the effects of oil spills on Stanley Park.
The ecology society is holding the discussion to raise the public profile of environmental issues in Stanley Park related to Kinder Morgan’s proposal to expand its pipeline from Alberta to the Westridge Terminal in Burnaby. The energy company wants to more than double its capacity from 300,000 barrels a day to 750,000. The number of tankers going through Burrard Inlet, the company says, would increase from 96 a year to as many as 300.
Many bird species, including great blue herons, that populated Stanley Park are threatened by industrial pollution and small oil spills affecting Burrard Inlet, according the Stanley Park Ecology Society.
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