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Crews work to rescue animals from oil spill

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Rescue workers are searching for animals contaminated by the oil spill in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Rescue workers are searching for animals contaminated by the oil spill in Salt Lake City.

Already 270 to 280 ducks and Canadian Geese have been transported to Hogle Zoo where they were washed.

The process can be described as grueling on the animals and the people cleaning them.

It takes about an hour to decontaminate one animal.  It includes between three to four baths in Dawn soap, a mouth swab, eye drops and a charcoal injection down the throat to clean oil from the animals digestive track.

Jackie Illario is helped capture the oil soaked animals from Liberty Park and the Red Butte Creek.  ABC 4's Noah Bond said to her, "It looks like you have a battle scar right there," as he pointed to her right cheek.  "I do. It's a love bite," replied Illario.

A frightened goose bit her in the face.  The pain is not enough take away her compassion for the ailing animals.  "It's really sad. It's terrible to see these things struggling for life," said Illario.

She is one of only a few volunteers working to save the animals. Most volunteers are turned away because of the oils toxic and dangerous compounds.

Illario is a qualified to help because she is a Hogle Zoo intern with special training.  She swabbed oil out of a baby ducklings beak and held the animals after their baths and before their other treatments.

At least 270 man hours have gone into cleaning the animals.  Illario feels obligated to help correct the damage caused by the oil spill.  "It's something that is the responsibility of humans and so I think humans have to take the initiative to fix it," she said.

Workers cleaned the animals until 1:00 a.m. Sunday.  They returned to work later in the morning and finished bathing the last duck around 5:00 p.m.

Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. the geese will be transported from Hogle Zoo to Clear Lake hundreds of miles southwest of Salt Lake City.  Officials planned to transport the animals before the oil spill.  The ducks will be released back in the Salt Lake area sometime after Friday.

If you see an oil soaked animal call your local animal control office. It will likely die if the oil is not removed from its body.

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