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Bears and deer die at oil sands sites
Published Thursday, April 8, 2010 5:49PM MDT
Government documents show that animals other than ducks have died at Alberta's oil sands sites.
Documents obtained by Greenpeace, under freedom of information legislation, show that at least 164 other animals died during oil sands operations between 2000 and 2008.
Those animals included 27 bears, 67 deer, 31 foxes and 21 coyotes.
Possible reasons for the deaths are listed as drowning, oil from tailings, animals hitting structure or vehicles, electrocution, and euthanasia of problem wildlife.
Moose, beavers and wolves also died, although the cause of death isn't specified.
The documents cover Syncrude, Shell and Suncor operations.
Anytime an animal dies as a result of oil patch activity, the company has a duty to report it to Sustainable Resource Development which keeps track of the information.
Environmental groups say this is more proof that it's time to transition to a cleaner energy source.
But the groups aren't just blaming the oil companies. Greenpeace and the Sierra Club say the government has to take better stock of what oil companies are doing.
"Letting companies report and police themselves is inadequate. There should be government monitoring and independent scientists reporting regularity so we can understand the true death toll," says Mike Hudema from Greenpeace Canada.
Alberta's energy minister tells CTV News he would prefer there were no impact at all but feels government and industry is working hard to keep the impact minimal.
Syncrude is currently in court on provincial and federal charges over the deaths of 1,600 ducks that landed on its tailings pond.
With files from CTV.ca