Eleven days ago, an offshore drilling operation near the Louisiana coast and the Mississippi River delta exploded, killing 11 people. The British Petroleum (BP) well began pouring millions of gallons of oil into the ocean waters and has been pouring steadily ever since. This oil spill has already cost human lives and – at this point in time – the environmental and economic toll is unknown. NOAA, BP, and government agencies have been working to contain the oil that is spreading far and wide, though the task is daunting. As of this writing, the oil is still spilling from the underwater well.
This catastrophe has gained the attention of a worldwide audience, and many people are asking what they can do to help. The oil spill is expected to injure and sicken wildlife, including sea birds, sharks and other fish, dolphins, and sea turtles. The International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) and Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research (Tri-State) have combined forces and set up triage centers at locations in Louisiana and Alabama. They will bring their years of experience in helping oiled wildlife to the local animal rehabilitation centers to help them clean and treat as many animals as possible.
Dawn has donated dishwashing liquid in preparation for the feared, yet expected, inundation of oiled birds. Other oiled wildlife will be treated by facilities that are best equipped to handle a particular species.
Birder’s Lounge has previously started a fledgling Internet directory aimed at matching volunteers with the wildlife rehab organizations that need them, called NatureSquad. If you have ever wanted to help wildlife, now may be the time. Due to the nature of the spill, some tasks will require certain training. In the days to come, there will likely be plenty to do for those who lack special training, but not the will to help. The following list is the most comprehensive list of volunteer information I could put together at the time of this writing. As I learn of updates, or if you know of any relevant information I haven’t included, please contact me. I will keep a cumulative list at the NatureSquad site in addition to posting this article on both here and there.
- Volunteer Hotline for joint IBRRC and Tri-State triage centers: 1-866-448-58161
- Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana: If you encounter oiled wildlife, please call: 1 (800) 557-1401. Other questions, email : firstname.lastname@example.org
- National Wildlife Federation: 1-800-247-7387, ext. 6177, or email email@example.com
- National Audubon Society: Volunteer Registration – Click here.
- Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program: Lists number to call if you encounter oiled wildlife as: 1-866-557-1401.
- Tonic.com. http://www.tonic.com/article/rescuing-birds-on-the-louisiana-shore-deepwater-horizon-jay-holcomb/, posted May 1, 2010. ↩