Submitted by GSPCA on 13:06, 10th Dec, 2012 | 1

4 weeks ago an injured Common Scoter was brought into the GSPCA after being rescued in Beaucette Marina.

The duck Shelter staff named Marietta was very weak on entry but after a month of rehabilitation Yvonne Chauvel got to release the very attractive duck on Saturday with some very special volunteers.

In 1996 GSPCA Shelter staff and volunteers were called on to help with one of the biggest oil disasters to hit the British shores.

When the Sea Empress ran a ground in Pembrokeshire on the 15th February over 72,000 tons of crude oil and 360 tons of heavy fuel poured into the sea in less than a week.

Tens of thousands of animals were effected and the RSPCA launched a massive rescue operation.

The GSPCA only a couple of years previously had constructed an oiled bird unit and our services were quickly volunteered to help with the rehabilitation work.

60 ducks were flown over to Guernsey and Yvonne Chauvel with Chrissy who worked at the Shelter and volunteers Nadia and Joan started the gruelling task to remove the crude oil from the birds.

For days the team of 4 worked through to midnight cleaning and medicating the birds which on entry the breed was unknown due to the extent of the oil.

Unfortunately 10 were lost during the process but 50 survived and spent some time at the Shelter whilst they regained their waterproof feathers.  When the oil had been removed they were identified as Common Scoters and during the disaster over 4,000 of this breed alone had been affected.

The Common Scoter is an all dark seaduck with the male being totally black and the female lighter, with a pale face. They are often seen as large bobbing rafts offshore, or long straggling lines flying along the coast. The UK breeding population of this small diving seaduck has substantially declined and believed to be around 100,000 around the UK in Winter and they are now a Red List species. Unfortunately its winter populations are vulnerable to oilspills and is why so many were affected by the Sea Empress.

Every year the GSPCA oiled bird team from 1996 meets up for a Christmas meal and this year Yvonne who still works at the Shelter surprised the group of friends with a special treat of a Common Scoter release.

All were over joyed with the experience to see Marietta fly back into the wild.

Yvonne Chauvel Senior Animal Care Assistant said 'It was wonderful to see Marietta fly back into the wild.'

'The disaster and care of the birds brought us all together and we are all still the best of friends and I thought bringing them along for the release would be a really nice touch.'

'We still get oiled birds each month but not as many as we use to.'

'It was really hard back in 1996 and very upsetting as those poor birds were all on death's door, but we were amazed when we saved so many of them.'

'It's what we do the job for, it's always lovely to see the wildlife back into their natural habitat.'

If you find an oiled bird please call the GSPCA on 01481 257261 or bring along to the Shelter where we have the facilities, staff and volunteers to rehabilitate and release injured wildlife.

To make a donation to help animals in Guernsey please call the Shelter on 01481 257261 or please click here


To see the story of Jethou Bumblebee please click here or click here to see the Channelonline report


This is a video of our longest stay cat Felix who needs your help to find a new and forever home.

There are many items on the GSPCA's Wish List and you can see many of them by clicking here including a list of Amazon items which would make a difference to animals in Guernsey this Christmas.

Every Tuesday 10.30am - 12pm up to and including the 18th December the GSPCA are holding Coffee Mornings and a Bric-a-brac sale with GSPCA Goods and Pet Supplies.  We are also offering free microchipping each time this event is on for cats and dogs so please pop along to support the Link staff and students.

Through December staff and volunteers will be running a GSPCA stall outside Joules on the Pollet during the Late Night Christmas Shopping each Thursday in December.

From Monday 17th December the GSPCA will have a Pop Up Charity Shop in Smith Street thanks to OSA Recruitment, click here for more details

Christmas Gift Certificates on sale at the GSPCA Animal Shelter as well as many other stocking fillers - for more details please click here

Sponsored Christmas Day Polar Bear Swim - Do you fancy joining our brave swimmers? click here for more details



"Quacktastic to see my friend back in the wild :) x"

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