In many countries, experience and expertise in oiled wildlife response sits primarily within non-governmental organisations (NGOs), therefore their integration into a national response system is crucial during an incident. In addition to supporting the scientific community, NGOs normally work in one or more aspects of a response, including wildlife rehabilitation, animal welfare, volunteer coordination and conservation.
Oiled wildlife emergency management and response teams
Management and co-ordination assistance for oiled wildlife emergencies can be provided by certain organisations. Sea Alarm runs a 24/7 emergency response service and can be contacted in case of an incident. If the incident needs an internationally coordinated response, Sea Alarm calls upon the expertise of other experienced organisations, some of which are listed below. This pool of responders, consisting of response organisations and individual experts, would travel to the site of an incident and assist in the response where expertise is requested by local organisations. The main organisations with teams capable of responding internationally are listed below.
European Response Teams
- Sea Alarm
- The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)
- Wildlife Rescue Centre Ostend (WRC Ostend)
- PRO Bird (Germany)
These organisations also respond internationally.
International Response Teams
- Focus Wildlife
- International Bird Rescue
- Massey University Wildbase Oil Response
- Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN)
- Tri-State Oil Bird Rescue & Research
- South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB)
These organisations also respond within their country of origin.
Oiled wildlife rehabilitation centres
In many coastal countries, permanent wildlife rehabilitation centres that have experience working with oiled animals are in place. Increasingly, national coastal rehabilitation centres have started cooperating together to plan for oiled wildlife incident response. This is the case in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK where individual rehabilitation centres have joined forces to create national networks.
These national networks strengthen country-wide capacity to respond to oiled wildlife incidents and provide for a more efficient and co-ordinated response through sharing of resources, equipment and information. When a coastal country is faced with an oiled wildlife incident, national rehabilitation centres are the first line of response as they are recognised as the most appropriate centres of expertise.
In the best case scenario, wildlife rehabilitation centres develop their own oiled wildlife response plan, ideally coordinated with the requirements of the national oiled wildlife strategy. Personnel at these centres should have a minimum level of knowledge of how to perform their designated role and to deal with the oiled animals. The Handbook on Wildlife Rehabilitation provides useful guidance.