Wildlife rescue is kind but futile, critics say

Rescuers washing goo off pelicans provide hopeful images from the Gulf of Mexico disaster, while critics call that work a heart-warming waste of time and money that simply buys doomed creatures a bit more time.

They say the money and man-hours would be better spent restoring wildlife habitat or saving endangered species because the hard reality is that many, if not most, oiled creatures probably won't live long after being cleansed and freed.

"Once they've gone through that much stress, particularly with all the human handling and confinement, it's very difficult," said critic Ron Kendall, director of the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University. "Some species might tolerate it better than others, but when you compare the benefits to the costs ... I am skeptical."

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