Leading experts should oversee oiled wildlife recovery during major spills:
Once a spill occurs, the clock starts ticking - there's a limited amount of time in which to recover animals where they stand a chance of surviving.
With skills learned and handed down over the last 40 years, wildlife rehabilitators are tremendously successful in treating oiled animals and returning them to the wild, but first, they must be found and captured.
Capturing oiled wildlife, especially flighted birds, can be extremely difficult and it requires a unique skill set attained from years and years of field experience. Understandable, there are relatively few individuals in the world with such expertise.
Unfortunately, these experts are not always called upon help lead rescue efforts - especially in the South. Take what's going on in Texas right now as an example. Click HERE.
While the criteria for rehabilitation of oiled wildlife requires a certain level of expertise, there are no policies requiring experts for search and recovery. Without experts advising on capture strategies or helping locate injured wildlife, animals lives are lost.
This is not acceptable!
We are asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency to:
Establish policy requiring an oiled wildlife search and recovery expert from a leading NGO, such as International Bird Rescue or Tri-State Bird Rescue, be assigned, at minimum, an advisory position in the Wildlife Branch within the Incident Command structure for any major oil spill.
Work with world leaders from International Bird Rescue and Tri-State Bird Rescue to update best practices and develop a system by which to qualify and evaluate search and recovery efforts and personnel.
I also request that your agency work with representatives from these organizations (International Bird Rescue or Tri-State Bird Rescue) in updating Best Practices for Migratory Bird Care During Oil Spill Response to include a system by which to qualify and evaluate search and recovery efforts and personnel.