Amidst clean-up efforts of the major oil spill at the Evrona Nature Reserve, Dr. Elli Groner, director of the Center for Hyper-Arid Socio-Ecology (CHASE), visited the site on Sunday morning with two research assistants and two students to assess the damage. They surveyed the area, examining the spill and the wildlife. The oil is flowing with the same gravitational pull as water would during a rain/flood event, toward the areas with the greatest concentration of flora and fauna. The oil is suffocating and will probably kill hundreds of acacia trees. Small animals such as ant lions and gecko lizards are drowning in the oil, unable to escape.
Dr. Groner and his students started sampling trees in order to monitor the damage. This will result in an impact estimate for a major lawsuit planned against those responsible. The CHASE team has started their work using a special near infrared camera. The monitoring of the whole area will take a substantial amount of the researchers’ time and work. Arava Institute student Antonia Bacigalupa-Albaum undertook photographic documentation. CHASE is now looking for a reclamation intern (funds permitting) who can work together with Dr. Groner monitoring the immediate and long-term impact of the spill on the ecosystem.