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The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill


Just after midnight, a series of errors on board the Exxon Valdez oil tanker led the ship aground in Alaska's Prince William Sound. About 30 million litres of crude oil leaked from the tanker's breached hull, causing massive destruction along hundreds of kilometres of once-pristine coast.

An estimated 250,000 seabirds and more than 2,500 sea otters are thought to have died in the spill, which was also believed to have killed or displaced 14 orcas that lived in the Sound.

Amid the destruction there was life, and it found its way to Vancouver. It came in the form of Nyac, the Vancouver Aquarium's late beloved sea otter, who survived the spill and lived to become the aquarium's oldest sea otter. At the age of 20, Nyac died in 2008 from leukemia after becoming an ambassador for the effects of the oil spill on her species.





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