Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Wand Cleans Oil from Penguins

An “oil spill wand” developed by the Penguin Foundation at Victoria’s Phillip Island promises to revolutionise the way oiled wildlife are cleaned, causing less stress to oiled animals and providing a faster and cheaper solution.

Traditional treatment of scrubbing oiled wildlife with warm water and detergent is labour-intensive, requires expensive equipment and facilities, causes high levels of stress to the animal and can damage the bird’s feathers.

However, the oil spill wand applies a metallic powder that binds with the oil. A magnetic wand is then waved over the animal, drawing up the metallic powder and oil.

The process is fast, safe, and enables the animal to be cleaned quickly – removing the worst of the contamination as quickly as possible. The process takes about 5 minutes.