As members of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, Monterey Bay Aquarium's aviculturist (bird) and sea otter teams are trained to respond to an oil spill emergency, such as the one which occurred in San Francisco Bay last week.
Aquarium staff is currently working with rescued seabirds at the Wildlife Center in Fairfield. They brought a donation from the aquarium for those birds lucky enough to survive their ordeal; white bait (fish) and 380 lbs of krill.
The aquarium is also on standby to accommodate wildlife in need of temporary homes following treatment. Some birds may prove to be non-releasable; the aquarium is still home to seven seabirds (Common Murres) from a 1986 oil spill off the Central California Coast that killed over 10,000 seabirds. We're pleased that at this time, there are no reports of oiled sea otters, but it's a sobering reminder of the precarious position we stand in with only 3,000 California Sea Otters ranging along such a narrow stretch of the California coastline.
As the extent of the spill became clear, wildlife organizations and state agencies were inundated with calls from people desperate to help. Many were turned away, resulting in frustration and disappointment. Happily this situation has resolved, somewhat, and there are things you can do, some as bizarre as donating your hair! Check out this amazing story about hair mats soaking up oil in the Bay this week.
For more conventional ways to help:
- Check the Oiled Wildlife Care Network website regularly. They're posting their needs and status daily.
- Report oiled wildlife, DO NOT approach birds or other wildlife. But, DO call (415) 701-2311 or call your local SPCA.
- You can also report a sighting online to the International Bird Rescue Research Center.
- Sign a petition to ask Congress to consider banning the use of bunker oil that spilled in the bay.
- Join the aquarium's Ocean Action Team. We'll let you know when there's important ocean legislation you can take action on, or other ways to get involved to help, such as beach cleanups, or tips for reducing your environmental footprint.