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Animals Struck By Oil Spill Get Baths That Could Save Their Lives

<p>Joseph Proudman/UC Davis<span></span></p>

Oil spills ravage more than just water.

The burst pipeline that spilled 105,000 gallons of crude oil and leaked about 21,000 gallons of oil into open waters along the California coast last week also drenched countless animals and ravaged their habitat.

At least one sea lion has already died as a result of the spill, and authorities are still trying to understand just how devastating the oil spill will be on ocean life. As the oil slick spreads for watery miles along Refugio State Park near Santa Barbara, heartbreaking images of the innocent animals struck by the environmental tragedy are revealing just how horrific oil spills are.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is getting help from the UC Davis Oiled Wildlife Care Network, and people are working diligently to save all the animals they can. These photos show the incredible work they're doing for animals fighting for their lives.

Oiled pelican in Santa Barbara Harbor. (Photo/Deborah Jaques)
Wildlife responders from International Bird Rescue clean oiled birds harmed by the oil spill in Santa Barbara County. Wildlife response efforts are being coordinated by the UC Davis Oiled Wildlife Care Network. (Photo: Joseph Proudman/UC Davis)
Photo: International Bird Rescue
Members from the International Bird Rescue clean an oiled brown pelican at the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center, May 25, 2015. Oiled birds are cleaned and cared for before being released back into the wild. (Photo: International Bird Rescue)
UC Davis Oiled Wildlife Care Network's Christine Fiorello and volunteers clean an oiled pelican harmed in the oil spill in Santa Barbara County. (Photo: Joseph Proudman/UC Davis)

Facebook/Cal Spill Watch

"Unfortunately with accidents and oil development, it is not a question of if, but of when," Owen Bailey, executive director of the Environmental Defense Center, told USA Today. "But to see this level of spill into such a sensitive and treasured environment is devastating."

If you see an oiled animal, call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 1-877-823-6926 and provide the best description you can of the animal and the situation, along with the animal's location so rescuers can try to help. Volunteer to help with the clean-up here. Learn how you can push for alternative energy sources here. Sign a petition to ban offshore drilling in California here.