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A New Integrated Wildlife Response Plan For Montenegro

A new Integrated Wildlife Response Plan for Montenegro

Sea Alarm successfully completed its project with the Montenegrin authorities to develop a national oiled wildlife response plan.

Over the last year and a half, Sea Alarm has been working hard alongside the Montenegrin authorities to prepare a new Integrated Wildlife Response Plan (WRP) and to train local stakeholders for an emergency response. An effective and professional response to oiled wildlife emergencies can significantly improve the survival rate of oiled animals and reduce the overall impacts of an oiled emergency.

With this in mind, Sea Alarm and the local authorities organised an initial stakeholder workshop to get the perspectives of a number of local organisations before devising the plan. The involvement of all stakeholders, such as NGOs and local authorities, is fundamental to the success of any plan and creates a sense of ownership amongst key actors.

After the workshop, an intense field trip was carried out in June by EUROWA partners to assess wildlife sensitivities in Montenegro. Once the field work was done, the Sea Alarm team and the EUROWA partners sent a first draft of the WRP to the Montenegrin authorities. They also gave two training sessions, a BASIC Responder Course in September and a Managers Awareness course in early October.

The BASIC course consisted of a combination of classroom learning and practical exercises/skill labs, including the search and collection of the famous Roboduck. Eleven participants were qualified as BASIC responders and will be part of a small Montenegrin wildlife response workforce.

In October, Sea Alarm organised a wildlife response management course for 10 representatives of ministries, agencies, and NGOs who are likely to have a role in the new WRP. The trainers introduced the plan, some case histories which illustrated challenges of responding to oiled wildlife and international good practice on implementing the wildlife response plan and capacity building via structural multi-year projects. Through three tabletop exercises, the participants revisited the roles and responsibilities as described in the plan. They also discussed how the notification of an incident would lead to certain actions and the mobilisation of the  National Contingency Plan and the new WRP. The tabletop also gave them the opportunity to define where they would develop their facilities for taking care of impacted animals.

Overall, the participants in all of the activities expressed their appreciation for the quality of the plan, the value of the workshops and that they now feel more prepared in the event of an incident.

Sea Alarm is pleased to have been involved in building up wildlife preparedness capacity of a country like Montenegro and hopes that some additional attention and investment can give this initial preparedness step some continuity in the near future.

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