Here's the current situation regarding wildlife and the Gulf Coast Oil Spill.
The first oiled bird was found off-shore in Louisiana Friday morning. As of 3:00PM on 5/1/10, there are no new reports of any additional oiled wildlife discoveries. The Alabama Wildlife Center is coordinating with agencies already on the ground at the Gulf Coast. We are currently on standby.
The first most likely scenario is that AWC will be asked to send our staff and volunteers that have experience cleaning oiled wildlife to work at cleaning stations on the Gulf Coast. At that point, AWC will need additional trained animal care volunteers to fill in to care for wildlife in our Clinic. Even during times of crisis, the need remains strong right here at home.
If at some point there are more oil-affected animals than can be treated by cleaning stations on the Gulf Coast, AWC may be called to transport wildlife here for care. If that happens, there will be a need for transport drivers and volunteers to train as oiled wildlife cleaners, as well as a need for donated supplies. In this situation, we would publish the list of specific supplies needed and schedule volunteer training sessions.
We'd like to reiterate that it's still a waiting game at this point. There will likely be a need for help, but right now the situation is still unfolding. No direct service is needed at this time. In the mean time, there are five steps that community members can take to help:
1. Get on the AWC Help with Gulf Coast contact list. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the words "Help with gulf Coast" in the subject line. Any friends and family that might not have email should call AWC at 205-663-7930 Ext. 3 and leave name and telephone number with area code. We will contact you only when there is specific action needed.
2. Find AWC on Facebook for news and information updates - and share our page with your Facebook friends. You can also continue to check this blog.
3. Become an Animal Care volunteer. Our next Orientation is this Sunday, May 2 from 1-4pm. You can register online from a link on our homepage. Or you can simply arrive early for the orientation to complete your registration in person. There is a $10 fee.
4. Donate to AWC so that we can help where help is most needed. You can donate online at awrc.org, or send your check payable to Alabama Wildlife Center to 100 Terrace Drive, Pelham, AL 35124. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and donations are tax-deductible.
5. If you or someone you know encounters oiled wildlife on the Gulf Coast, call the toll-free Oiled Wildlife Hotline at 1-866-557-1401. For any other Alabama wildlife in need unrelated to the Gulf Coast oil spill, you should still contact the Alabama Wildlife Center at 205-663-7930 Ext. 2.
We anticipate that the need for help with wildlife affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill will be great and long-lasting. While the situation is receiving a lot of media attention right now, we are urging people to remember that the greatest need will be down the road, and may last for some time. We encourage everyone to put their concern into the actions that are available at this time, and to standby for further instruction. We appreciate the many calls and emails we've received from community members that want to help. Your help will be needed. Thank you.