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Off the coast of Saudi Arabia, 1991

I photographed this cormorant bird on a lake in Kuwait during the First Gulf War. It was a migratory bird and it normally flew from Siberia to Africa. The birds usually would stop in Kuwait, have a rest, have some water, have some food, and it landed on what it thought was a lake full of water. In fact, this lake turned out to be oil from the more than 600 oil wells that Saddam Hussein had blown up. This was the worst catastrophe in the 20th century. The oil and the smoke in the fire covered the entire region. It took many months for oil workers to put out this fire, and even then, it took more months to clean up this environmental disaster. The oil extended for hundreds of kilometers around the region, and it turned what was a sunny day into the darkest night as you drove inside these oil fields. There were thousands of birds such as these that perished during this first Gulf War because of the over 600 oil wells that have been blown up by Saddam Hussein. Volunteers came from all over the world to try and save these birds, along with the other wildlife in the region. The zoo on Kuwait City had also been destroyed by departing Iraqi soldiers. Many of the animals in the zoo had been killed, shot, or were wounded by departing Iraqi soldiers.

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